Gama spoke to Hans Bangelmeier, Managing Director, PEZ International.
What are your day to day activities as Managing Director?
Giving my colleagues the passion and enthusiasm to give their day and their contribution to the organisation a sense of value and purpose.
What key trends do you expect to shape food innovation in 2014?
The trend is towards regional products that have a clear message for the consumer. Credibility, quality, sustainability should not only be used as headlines, the whole value chain needs to be based on these criteria.
What should manufacturers do to be successful in the current economic climate?
Diversification based on core strengths plays a key role. What might work very well in one market does not necessarily work in a neighbouring country. Adapt to local circumstances and make the product “domestic”.
You mention that there is a trend towards more regional products. Why do you think that is?
More and more you need to make sure that your products meet the needs of specific countries and are adapted to the local market. One example is in the UK where we launched special dispensers as part of a partnership with Red Nose Day (a UK charitable event).
How do you build a picture of what consumers are demanding in different markets?
We work with local distribution partners who provide us with analysis of what consumers in different countries prefer, such as when it comes to flavours. For instance, licorice is a flavour that is particularly popular among Scandinavian consumers.
Which categories or consumer groups currently offer the greatest growth opportunities for FMCG companies?
Once the macroeconomic environment provides greater stability, every market, every consumer group offers plenty of opportunities. An authentic answer to consumer needs will be essential for success.
You mention consumer needs – what are the most important consumer needs at the moment?
Demand for “healthy” and “natural” products is increasing. That’s why we launched PEZ Soft fruit gums, which only contain natural ingredients.
How do companies best achieve growth in developed or saturated markets?
Do not rely on current success stories. Instead, think about tomorrow and what can be done even better.
From a marketing perspective, how is the way companies are looking to reach and engage with consumers changing? How can a brand successfully resonate with consumers?
The brand must develop in a way that fulfills consumer expectations without losing its roots or credibility.