FSAA Today and Tomorrow 2023

There's a difference between seeing an opportunity and seizing it, and that difference is action.

Foodservice Suppliers Association of Australia and I have teamed up to bring you this useful resource portal so you can apply what you’ve learned to your own business. Have fun Reimagining the Plate!


Slide Deck – Reimagining the Plate: A Decade of Disruption in Foodservice

Interesting and useful links from our session:

Reimaginers Marketplace Shaper Framework

Flattened Milk

Laundry Detergent Sheets 

Work Life Integration


Employee Hit Points

Unlimited Leave

Psychology and the Good Life

Grandparents Leave and Other Perks

Culture is the Product

Musk V Zuck Cage Fight

Tyga Bites

Premium Poppers

Teishoku Tuesdays

Chae Melbourne

Dietary Exploration

Edelman Trust Barometer

Tony’s Chocolonely Transparency

Forbes Lab-Grown Meat Dive

Plant-based Fat

Driverless Delivery

AI Drive-Thru

Now > Ever

Barbiecore Cuisine

Gartner Hype Cycle


AI Banquet

20% Time


Turning Points

Track Trends

Kochie’s Business Builders Author


Your Event Questions

There’s a lot and often the most impactful are entirely specific to the organisation. Having said that, broad themes to consider include innovation time and workflows for customer data.

Innovation time is dedicated calendar time to furthering the potential of your organisation to penetrate opportunities with new innovations. For customer data it does depend where you are, if you don’t know who your audience really is, then it’s about starting from scratch and building out those segments and ensuring business strategy, brand strategy, and communications are then all aligned to this. If you’ve got this, it’s about building business processes and ensuring you’ve got clean data that allows for hyper segmentation. Think hundreds of target markets.

This is going to get really challenging soon especially at scale when zero party data comes in and the rich sources of customer data we’re used to tracking dry up overnight. So this is one of those things to be acting on yesterday if you wish to thrive and lead tomorrow.

Overcoming consumer apathy in the foodservice space.

I look at two key emotions whenever apathy is present for a target audience I'm developing. In relation to the focus brand and the focus product – what is repelling? What are the turnoffs and why? And then the other side which is excitement. Beyond food what is it that engages my customer into action? What do they love. Proof is often in the pudding here. I love to observe behaviour where my target audience has big behaviour change in relation to overcoming apathy in other industries they interact with, and then I translate the insights back to food.

The deeper you understand what excited your audience, the easier this is to translate to new and exciting innovations and communications relevant to your business. It's important to remember here that it's not enough to have the great product to overcome apathy, it needs to also be communicated and branded in a way that reduces the repelling triggers and amplifies the magnetic ones.

Typically when things don't eventuate as we expect, our expectactions have been shaped heavily by the Peak of Inflated Expectations in the Gartner Hype Cycle.

Hype leads to inaccurate expectatations for a range of reasons. My 4-pillar DARE methodology highlights the following four reasons.

Innate human bias interfering with our ability to analyse a situation. I looked to the birth and maturity of previous alternatives in food as well as alternatives in other industries, especially pharmaeceuticals and well-being. It was evident that initial promises and hype (fat is all bad, let's sell fat-free and reduced fat everything) did lead to enduring product categories (light Milk) but didn't replace the default (full fat milk). Clearerthinking.org has a great free micro-course on using Bayesian logic to weigh evidence, exactly as I've demonstrated here.

Strategy processes not effectively overcoming roadblocks to innovation so that we don't have a good pathway to deliver on the possibility new technologies represent. Fyre Festival but for alt meat.

The reality of innovations failing to meet consumer expectations. Taste was and is a key barrier to adoption particularly in meat eaters. And as I mentioned at FSAA, a lack of clear codification. If your product is like egg, is it like egg in nutrition? In utility for cooking? Or in flavour? This is frequently unclear in packaging.

Difficulty in overcoming psychological barriers to adoption. There are a range of reasons people don't switch from apathy to anxiety and the more deeply these factors are understood, the easier it is to overcome them. This is always an important factor where 'education' is seen as the silver bullet to consumer adoption. People have to want to adopt, and talking about every reason why someone should switch is rarely the way to do that.

Understanding the why is an exciting thing. Solving these four problems (among the others) will absolutely lead to increased success in the future growth of the plant-based alternative space.

Industry disloyalty.

Most people focus on only the trends in their own industry but most consumer expectations shift because of innovation in other industries, especially tech, or industries that I call 'Innovation Wild Wests' like AI right now or cannabis a heartbeat ago.

Your consumer doesn’t just live a life that is only impacted by your industry, and when they see innovation in one area of their life, they expect that to suddenly be in all areas of their life. Understanding the world beyond your echo chamber and understanding which innovations are the ones that shift consumer expectations is one of the most overlooked and crucially impactful data points when it comes to how we design our businesses.

Foodservice in particular is heavily impacted by disloyal expectations and in both 2023 and 2024 not meeting expectations here is the difference between a delighted customer and one who takes their dollar elsewhere.

A small question with a very in-depth answer. Ultimately this ability to keep up will make or break whether or not the opportunity landscape of the Now>Ever trend can be accessed.

My top 3 focus areas of consideration are: decision-making, bending time, and partnerships

Supply chain experts must be involved in all decision-making around short-term innovation strategies. It is crucial to have logistics and operations in the room from the beginning as you design. Considerations include what types of offers can be created short term, and what needs to be measured to make or break success.

Poor innovation processes waste a lot of time in the early stages of design for many reasons from bike-shedding to bureaucracy. When designing your program look for ways to keep this process short and apply time constraints. The more time you save early on in soft-processes, the more time can be given to the less flexible supply chain. Then stick to it.

Joint ventures and other forms of partnerships and collaborations to enable capability sharing. Someone, somewhere has the capability you lack, tools like TRIZ can help identify what these solutions might be to help fast track your problem solving.

Love this question! My go-to tip is to compile your own trend tracking list.

First step is to plan what feeds you need. Consider what trends have the most critical impact on your business functions. Where have your biggest wins come from? When times are tough what aspects of your business feel it most? Where are the gaps in your knowledge?

Then it's about finding a range of credible sources that give accurate and informed opinions on those topics. Be mindful to include examples from both within your industry but also from other industries that experience the same patterns of success and challenges.

A solid trend feed includes examples from industry bodies, subscribing to newsletters from trend sources, the social media feeds of trend analysts, and the social media feeds of tastemakers and other public figures that have created trends in your industry. Statistics around local government data and regulations is a great one too.

Just above this FAQ section is a link to one of my trend feeds, which has a bunch of resources and is one of the top Google results for the search term 'track trends' globally. Use it to find some great examples to populate your list. Make a point of regularly checking your list.

The biggest impact of technology on my business is an indirect one. It’s related to a tipping point we’re starting to experience now that I call Peak Content.

As a result of the rapid commercialisation, mass adoption and growing sophistication of generative AI content production tools, coupled with the maturity of the social media industry.

We are seeing a rapid increase in quantity of content produced, simultaneous to a withdrawal of content consumed. This is going to accelerate maturity of social media and we will see a shake out. To gain market share on social media will come down to already having that economy of scale in owned audience, or in extremely differentiated, niche content.

As audiences are increasingly fragmented, this means it will be important for me as a founder and also for the organisations I serve, to understand how to reach these fragmented audiences with extremely personalised and relevant offerings, brand, and content. All of which the development of is fundamental to my business and my clients businesses.

Mapping Exercise – Reimagining the Plate

A common thread among talks and conversations at FSAA Today and Tomorrow was how well you know your customers – both bill paying and end users of your product. Reimaginers supports organisations that prioritise innovation, to cultivate a deep and accurate understanding of your most profitable relationships. I do this through my science-backed strategic foresight processes. Send me a message to discover what you can get out of these incredible processes.