Once my baby boy turned 6 months old, I (like most parents) started to give him “real food” in addition to baby milk.
And of course, I wanted to give the best and healthiest food. It sounds so simple, but the choices are endless. Sweet potato or chicken pasta? Apple pie or vegan pumpkin mix? Should it be in glass or in BPA-free resealable pouches? Will I heat it up or do I want to use it right away?
And how could I tell if my little baby loves it or not? Well, getting a baby’s feelings is easy – I get immediate feedback. Either he eats eagerly or he sprays, spits, and pushes it all over himself – and every surface within two meters.
Baby food market
The baby food market has increasingly changed and grown. As more people live in big cities, with two working parents, and often far away from their families (where a grandma could help cook fresh baby food), the demand for packaged baby foods has increased. Since today’s parents have far better awareness of nutrition and demand ethically sourced vegetables and fruits (organic, sustainable, fair-trade, etc.), the demand for organic baby food has also increased.
Initially, baby food companies reacted slowly to consumers’ demands because they didn’t get immediate feedback from the user – they had to wait for sales numbers from retailers. Distribution channels, like supermarkets, small grocery shops, and drug stores, needed to uncover this trend (based on sales volumes) and ask the baby food companies for the kind of baby food their customers wanted.
Hence, the baby food companies reacted to second-hand information, rather than proactively providing their customers with new products.
How to get baby’s smile
How can businesses make the end customer (in this case, my baby) happy and meet the buyers’ (me, the parent) expectations? They can’t ask the baby. Or can they?
We are living in an increasingly digital world, and businesses need to leverage this digitalization to drive new business processes across the organization to:
- Sense what is happening. All parents, like me, are on social media all the time. They tweet about good and bad experiences. They post pictures of their well-fed or food-covered babies on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. This is a vital indicator of what is happening in the market NOW.
- Drive R&D processes to constantly innovate and bring new products and flavors to market faster – e.g., pasta with peas, corn, and tomato pesto.
- Design sustainable and convenient packaging.
- Have the flexibility to manufacture different flavors and combinations in shorter runs in smart, flexible factories.
- Have omnichannel sales to take orders wherever the parent is, on any device, and at any moment of the day or night. (How often have I sat up at 2 am with baby in one arm and a to-do list in the other?)
- Have omnichannel delivery options to ship to the products where I need them at the time I can receive them.
Doing all this would make me happy as a mother and my son happy as a consumer. And that is what it is all about: Getting that gummy smile and melting a parent’s heart.
If you want not only your baby but also your users happy, download the IDC report “Leveraging your intelligent digital supply chain” to find out how an end-to-end digital supply chain – from design and planning to manufacturing, logistics, and operations – addresses the operational pressures of shorter product cycles, design variability, fluctuating demand, and faster delivery expectations.