Fast food & paper CEO’s find a common strategy to address declining growth

Adrian Hargreaves's picture
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Adrian Hargreaves
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Adrian Hargreaves wrote:

Paper may not appear to have too much in common with marketing strategy for burgers, donuts and fizzy soft drinks, apart from the fact that paper is used in packaging for fast food.  However, it was interesting watching Bloomberg programmes 'Surveillance' and 'In The Loop with Betty Liu' in recent days, to see comment that as growth is either stagnated or declining in traditional home markets, leading companies from all those industries and market sectors have identified the same strategy for new growth.

Fast food is of course increasingly under pressure from the health lobby as well as operating in markets already saturated by competition.  Meanwhile the digital revolution has had a huge negative impact on the paper industry in the traditional markets of North America and Europe.

For these companies the way forward has been identified as through overseas expansion into countries where both the health lobby and digital access are less well developed, in order to extend the life of their products and brands.

Do you agree with this strategy?  How long can it extend the life?  And what other industries do you think, could benefit from reaching out wider from their current markets?

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3 Responses

Lauren Follett's picture
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Lauren Follett
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Lauren Follett wrote:

Thanks for sharing Adrian - really interesting. I think overseas expansion is a good short-term solution, but countries that are less developed will inevitably catch up to North America putting the paper & fast food industries in the same situation. I wonder if the digital revolution & the health lobby will cause these industries to be completely phased out one day?

Adrian Hargreaves's picture
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Adrian Hargreaves
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Adrian Hargreaves wrote:

Hi Lauren,  Yes, like steam locomotives, ...or adapt. People will still need to eat and will continue to value convenience, but will become increasingly health focused. McDonalds is phasing in fruit & veg into its worldwide menus over the next 3 years. Likewise trees will still be cut down but grown more for use in biomass boilers instead of for paper production. Last week I saw a news presenter being teased by his tech savy colleagues for still using a pen!

Having said all that, after the initial growth of IPad's & Kindles, print is making a bit of a comeback.  You get a different experience reading a book or newspaper than staring at a screen, especially if you've been staring at a screen all day (more health issues).  For example, I subscribe in the UK to The Times online newspaper and also get the paper version initially delivered as part of a trial deal, which I've now kept going.  I find I cherry pick what I read with the IPad, but read far more articles in the print version, maybe because it is more relaxing.  Business magazines too are migrating from being more general publications with high news content, to being more about being reference guides focusing on ever more niche areas.  Less circulation, but a more targeted readership.  Even the steam locomotive train I mentioned, still occassionally trundles down the nearby railway line, as a tourist attraction.  Another one is the watch.  Teenagers and twenty somethings say they have a mobile phone to display the time and don't need to wear watches... unless of course they are big cool can't miss me designer watches.  Products that seem to be on their way out just keep coming back in a different guise. Perhaps its something to do with those marketing people?

Lauren Follett's picture
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Lauren Follett
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Lauren Follett wrote:

Great examples, and good point about products coming back, but in different forms. It must be the marketing folks recognizing consumer trends, and doing something about it! I agree that digital reading just can't replace the real thing - especially when it comes to magazines. There is something about sitting on the couch and flipping through a brand new, shiny, colourful magazine that a Kindle or Kobo just can't replace. Perhaps I'm still from the generation that values that though - I wonder if the Millenials or Generation Y who are growing up in a very digital world place the same value on paper?