Niagara University’s Food Marketing Innovation Summit Recap

FARM attended Niagara University’s Food Marketing Innovation Summit on Thursday, May 2, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency in Buffalo, New York.

On May 2, a few of our retail marketing experts at FARM attended Niagara University’s Food Marketing Center of Excellence Innovation Summit in support of our long-standing client, Tops Friendly Markets, and the university’s future leaders in the food marketing and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries.

We strive to keep a finger on the pulse of the food marketing industry and the trends, challenges, and opportunities in the retail landscape—and this year’s Innovation Summit offered an interesting focus: Loyalty that Lasts: Creating Personalized Customer Experiences for Loyalty in the Digital Age.

Frank Curci, CEO and chairman of Tops Friendly Markets, participated in the retailer panel discussion alongside other key leaders in the grocery retail marketplace to discuss business challenges and opportunities, and to lend career advice to Niagara University’s aspiring food and CPG marketing leaders. Below, we’ve identified his and the other speakers’ most important insights.


3 Key Takeaways from the Innovation Summit

1 – Extreme industry disruption

Consumers crave extreme value, extreme convenience, and extreme experience. Brands that are disrupting the industry are the ones who fulfill consumers’ trending desire for a fresh culinary experience, options that support health and wellness, convenient prepared foods, and an “Instagrammable” shopping experience.

Companies will need to work harder to create packaging and display solutions that accommodate the movement for convenience and a superior visual and social experience for customers.

2 – Loyalty is earned every day

As Gen Z shoppers become a more focused target audience for retailers, trends in the industry show that shopper loyalty is on the decline. Despite the efforts of loyalty programs that have fostered relationships with millennials, cross-shopping is an upward trend among Gen Z consumers.

Gen Z shopping preferences are driving more meaningful, authentic interactions and experiences in the retail space. Retailers will begin to see a shift in the preferences and buying behavior of their long-standing customers as well.

Retailers must view their customers not in terms of “new” and “old,” but as “today’s consumer” as a whole.

3 – Data-driven strategy

To meet the ever-changing needs and desires of today’s consumer, marketers need to have a deep understanding of what drives consumer purchasing behavior, so that they can predict trends, innovate, and position their brands for long-term success. Data will continue to be leveraged by industry leaders to pinpoint where consumers’ needs are, and are not, being met, and to inform strategy.


Learn more about how FARM and our sibling market research company, Pathfinder, can impact your business growth with an informed strategy. Send an email to Jill Fecher to start a conversation.

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