Louise Pilkington, Compass Group’s consumer marketing director for the UK and Ireland, will be speaking at lunch! 2017. Her opening day session –What can 10-year olds teach us about the future of food-to-go? – will focus on how to use consumer insights to drive innovation and maintain competitive advantage.
Prior to joining Compass in 2015, she held a long term consulting role as global innovation projects director at Costa, where she was responsible for food, beverage and store format innovation; and senior brand development and marketing roles at Moet Hennessy, Diageo and P&G.
How has the food-to-go sector changed in the last 10 years?
I think it’s become so much more exciting – so many more options, more world cuisines, street food, easier and more convenient, plus healthier options. Lunch on the run doesn’t have to be a compromise purchase any more – it can be a great food experience.
What do you see as trends for the future of food-to-go?
More demand for delicious healthy options, continued increase in demand for “free from” and flexitarian choices, as well as blurring of the lines between day parts to meet the need for all day snacking.
Where do you see your company in five years’ time?
We’ve seen incredible change in the last five years and expect more of the same in the next. The key is to stay close to our customers and be there to give them great lunch! experiences.
What’s your biggest seller at the moment?
Sandwiches remain the king of lunchtime, but we are also seeing growth in non bread options and protein snack pots.
Can you tell us a little bit about your much anticipated session at lunch! 2017?
As the world’s biggest caterer we get a really unique insight into the lives and eating habits of each generation, and of particular interest to us in terms of shaping our future offer, are the children and young adults we are catering for now in schools, colleges and universities. How they think and how they engage with food is very different to current generations and we need to be ready for that.
Describe the lunch! trade show in 3 words?
Exciting, vibrant, yummy!
How important does lunch! continue to be to your business?
It’s the best opportunity in the year to see the food to go industry in action, to learn from others and see examples of innovation.