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New food habits at the workplace make digital an important lever

Published on : 6/14/19
  • The food market is fast evolving in the corporate segment. There is a growing disruption in consumption trends with food takeaway slated to drive the growth by 7.7% every year.

    A joint study by Sodexo and Oliver Wyman on the consumption pattern of corporate employees shows a paradigm shift in the way employees are engaging with food. A look at the last decade reveals that there has been a decline of almost 6% in intake of home-cooked meals, corresponding to an increased preference for outside food from office cafeteria and external food vendors. Detailed research suggests that by 2025, eating out, in particular, food takeaways, will acquire even more importance in workplaces based on the following factors:

    • There will be 520 million people living in urban areas of India, with 17% of them engaged in office-based services. Rise in nuclear, working families suggest that people will have very little time to spend at home and even lesser time to prepare meals.
    • At work, employees will want to explore more flexible working hours and work stations. Subsequently, they will be on the lookout for flexible food delivery options.
    • Millennials will be very particular about their choices and food will be a key differentiator in their hunt for the right employers.
    • Employee expectation on comfort, convenience, and cost-competitiveness will continue to grow; integrated food services providing a host of solutions will be the answer.
    • Despite all the rush, consumers will never put health on the backseat. 43% - 59% of women and men respectively, will be on the lookout for healthy and hygienically prepared food, thus making health and wellness an inevitable part of food solution designing for corporates.
    • Employees will also be conscious about sustainability and hence will insist on environment-friendly food sourcing, preparation, delivery, and waste disposal options.

    Sodexo is strategically positioned to handle this disruption

    Drawing on its experience of 50+ years in the Food Services sector and incorporating a holistic approach, Sodexo is uniquely placed to handle the changing consumer trends in food consumption. The company does not just deliver food to the consumer, but an entire experience, that involves understanding the evolving needs of the consumer through regular research and studies, preparing menus with the help of global chefs who can brainstorm the right variety, sourcing fresh and organic ingredients, cooking each item with passion and hygiene using energy efficient methods, delivering nutritious food tasty to the palate and finally, helping the consumer pay for it using simple, efficient and time-saving methods. Additionally, Sodexo ensures delivery of the right meal portions, minimizing wastage; and has now begun delivery of surplus food to the needy, thereby benefitting the entire ecosystem.

    Leveraging the Power of Digital

    Integrating digital into Sodexo’s passion for food can be the perfect way to meet the demands of the evolution in food consumption pattern. Sodexo has always been a leader in using technology, and its own APAC regional headquarters office at Singapore is a clear example of how digital can enable workplaces to promote efficiency and Quality of Life. Hence, incorporating digital in Food Services will only be an extension of its commitment to enhancing the consumer experience.

    Sodexo is constantly working in tandem with progressive organisations that are increasingly aware of the need to provide an enriching food experience to enhance employee satisfaction at the workplace. Here are 5 areas where digital can be brought in for best results.

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    • Digital can give consumerism a makeover

    The world is already driven by digital, both outside and inside the workplace. However, food service inside workplaces has not yet been able to wield the power of digital as extensively as the cafeterias outside. Digitally enabled food services can give a new meaning to consumerism and bring about a huge change in the employee experience. For example, restaurants today use iPads to help customers browse and place orders, while robots deliver food on the table with precision. Similar service inside workplaces can certainly provide employees with an experience that they can cherish.

    • Digital can encourage better health and wellness practices

    In pursuit of a perfect work-life balance, employees place supreme importance on their daily diet that promotes good health. Digital integration through apps in mobile phones can help employees plan their meals more intelligently in the long run. Regular inputs in the app regarding menu choices can calculate the calorie intake, presenting a comparative analysis of current values versus the ideal threshold; sensitising employees to manage their health and wellness in a more balanced way. Thus, digital can give a holistic food solution to the employee.

    • Digital can facilitate convenience

    Digital can bring convenience in a variety of ways. Firstly, employees are able to access the menu and browse the food items on the digital app, any time they want to. Secondly, food choices are just a click away on the app. Thirdly, food choices over a period of time help in personalization and customization of menu suggestions. Finally, the digital payment process through scores of payment systems, digital wallets and cards ensure that the customer can pay for his food in just a few seconds. With agile and flexible workplaces coming up, employees can literally grab-and-go, experiencing convenience at every step.

    • Digital can power data analytics to further invent futuristic solutions

    Important fallout of digital in the food space is data analytics. Integration of digital can subsequently help in studying employee choices more closely and customize solutions to enrich customer experience. With AI and IoT dominating all aspects of food, from browsing the menu to placing an order and finally making the payment, an important amalgamation of data from every interaction can help foresee problems and thus invent solutions that can be ground-breaking. For example, a mobile, foldable food kiosk might become an innovative solution for a space-cramped organisation.

    • Digital can inspire supply chain sustainability

    Digital can help consumers track their food from origin to delivery. By accessing this information online, consumers can base their decision to eat or banish a particular item from a food service provider depending on the food being fresh, organic, nutritious and eco-friendly or not; and thus inspire supply chain sustainability. With millennials preferring organisations that understand and integrate sustainable solutions, digital might be an important consideration for organisations to attract the best talent and retain them.

    Digital is a way of life at Sodexo

    Sodexo’s food service footprint is already present in more than 100 cities of India. The company is providing digital apps, smart vending machines and partnering with important online delivery aggregators to power its on-site solutions.

    Globally, Sodexo’s association with food-tech specialist Food Cheri in France enables office catering, with flexibility and hyper-responsiveness dominating the service. Also, the company’s partnership with EAT Club in the US, offers a virtual cafeteria to various office employees, with assured on-time delivery. Foodiverse by Sodexo is a perfect example of how digital can facilitate convenience inside workplaces. This unique hall provides curated food stalls that stir passion and welcome immersion in authentic local cuisine supported by the ambience of an exciting corporate environment. Employees use Zeta Express to choose their favourite food and pay for it in a few minutes.

    With these unique digital innovations implemented in India soon, Sodexo is all set to support modern food consumption trends in Indian corporates to provide employees with an elevated workplace food experience.