Tasting Success through Collaboration

Sodexo Food for Thought: Tasting Success Through Collaboration

Published on : 12/19/18
  • “Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity”

    Food! Of the more than 100 services that Sodexo delivers today, there is nothing which evokes more passion than food. And this is true of our consumers as well as Sodexo. When we started our journey in France 52 years back, we started with food. For the longest time, until early 2000, we grew primarily as a food company. Today, we employ more than 200,000 food specialists. Food is deeply ingrained in our DNA and, in many ways, the breadth and depth of our expertise when it comes to food services is unmatched. Consumers associate us with high quality, nutritious meals served in their workplace.

    But, times are changing, and consumers are changing. And they are changing fast. We see new trends emerging in food services.

    First, consumers are more aware. They are well travelled and exposed to different types of cuisine. When it comes to food, customers want variety and authenticity. They are able to distinguish between fettuccine and linguine and, while they still like to eat the “Daal-Chawal” that they have grown up eating, they are more open to experimentation.

    Second, consumers and clients are focusing not just on the food but on the experience. Food in India has always been a social occasion and companies are beginning to recognize this. They want the cafeteria to not just be a place where you go to have meals but to be a place where you can relax with your colleagues, and meet in an informal environment and ideate. Simultaneously, organizations want to capitalize on the meal-time social collision and use it to increase employee loyalty and improve productivity.

    Third, there is an increasing focus on health and wellness. Consumers are in search of healthy choices and this is not just confined to soups, salads and sandwiches but also relates to recipes and ingredients which go into day-to-day food. This is about food which is grown organically and sourced ethically; food which is prepared using techniques that preserve freshness and nutrition.

    Finally, like everything else, there is a big impact of digital. For consumers, digital is a driver of consumer experience, enabling choice and convenience. For food companies like Sodexo, it is an important lever for building consumer insights and an enabler of new food models. It is also a driver of efficiency.

    We, at Sodexo, are very aware of these trends and are constantly evolving our offers and business models to address the changing environment. But we recognize that there are many companies and start-ups that are working to build solutions to address specific needs or add value to specific parts of the end-to-end food value chain. We feel that we can partner with them to build better solutions. And this partnership can be mutually beneficial – helping the start-ups flourish, and at the same time, enriching our business model.

    With startups offering innovative technologies and business models, we are hoping to co-create new services and a vastly differentiated experience for our consumers. It will allow us to reach consumers in a way we did not do before, create better connections and deliver better customer-centric services and experiences. We are looking at partners with leading-edge technologies and emerging business models and are sure that their agility and creativity, combined with our market access and the deep understanding of consumer behaviour will bring new energy to the food industry in India.

    And that is what our partnership with Zone Start-up is about; extending our business model by partnering with start-ups to innovate quickly. We have tried this model in our China business where we partnered with an accelerator called XNode and, as a result of that partnership; we have already announced our first collaboration with a company called AEYE-Go which works on Artificial Intelligence and facial recognition. We are very pleased to take this first step in India and we are confident that this initiative will help us move rapidly toward the food model for the future.

    So, if you are a start-up and raring to go, here is the opportunity to demonstrate your prowess. Reach out to us with your ideas at www.sodexoaccelerator.com and let us together explore the vastly uncharted territories that lie before us. Let it be an experience for both of us to savour. #FoodAtWork #SodexoAccelerator