Year in review 2016-2017, Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association
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Does anyone know a low-fat, high-carb, raw food, vegan? Im not making it up these are groups that exist. They have their own celebrities the major one for that group lives in Adelaide. Essentially the internet facilitates the existence of those sorts of groups because they provide people with people who think the same as them, and who tell them how to eat and what to eat etc. What were going to see in the future is that this is going to change and probably the first sign of this is IBM Chef Watson. IBM Watson is machine learning that takes unstructured information and can learn like a human being. IBM have put a whole lot of food information into Watson, e.g. if you want to eat beef it will tell you what tastes good with beef and what you should cook it with. Watson will put together whatever has synergy, it doesnt care about the oddity of that mixture, it cares what you want, what youre avoiding and what goes well together this has some big implications. An example, which might sound weird, is when Watson tells you to try hoof and honey ale, which is veal stock, IPA (beer), egg whites, peaches, a slice of beef, and some wine; someone made that and it was delicious and they made it because a computer told them to. Has anybody here got google assistant or Siri? The amount of information that we get from these automated systems is incredible and the amount of information we get from social media telling us we should do things is amazing. All of this has an impact on what it is that were doing. More and more though, youre going to see systems like this (IBM Chef Watson) suggest and tell you what you should be eating it sounds a bit strange but I can guarantee you now that if Kim Kardashian ate something weird many other people would be eating it too; if she put it on Instagram now people would be keen as mustard to try that for breakfast. The implication of all of this for us as beef producers and marketers is that the competitive set will change. While Im talking about chicken and all of these other current proteins that exist now and what the price challenges mean for us, the future will actually look very different: synthetic protein; insects; algae. New forms of protein production that people are going to have to choose between will become more and more the norm as automated systems choose and tell people what to eat. It sounds crazy, but if you google the best way to cook insects and crickets youll find 471,000 articles telling you the best way to cook crickets one of them from the Huffington Post. It sounds like a weird thing, but imagine that you wake up in the morning and all the celebrity people that you follow are saying hey, you should try crickets, then your smart phone is saying you should try crickets and mandarin porridge theres a good chance that someone will try it. It means that we, as beef producers, will enter into a space where we are competing with new proteins that we dont fully understand and we dont know what the impacts will be. This brings me to my next point How we buy food Most of the shopping in Australia is done at supermarkets right now and most people buy all of their groceries and the vast majority of their meat at supermarkets. Why? Because we dont trust that what we get via other methods will be the right quality; we intrinsically feel like we have the ability to choose food better than someone choosing our food for us. Only about 1% of Australians buy their meat online and about 18% will buy their groceries online. But this will change: in the uS about 5% of the population routinely buy their meat online; in some places in China this rate is at 20%. You might be aware that Amazon are launching their fresh food offering pretty soon in Australia. This will also add a bit of a challenge to the market with more and more people buying online. What we see with this is that smartpackaging and food-sensors are going to take all of the risk out of decision making there will be a raft of new tech that will tell you when the food arrives at the supplier: is it right? Is it what you ordered? Is it pesticide and hormone free? Is it fresh? This will make it a lot easier to order online because you dont have to worry about all of these things and youll know when it arrives whether it is right or not. The system is evolving very very quickly and what youre seeing is companies like Amazon who make their money by doing all of this online and removing the friction from the systems, and they are moving more and more towards removing ALL of the friction. What is friction? Its the pure difficulty of going out and buying something. What Amazon is doing with their Alexa and Echo systems and their dash system is that theyre letting you do this by voice and, importantly for our purposes, theyre letting you do this with dash buttons and pre-selected choices. What that means is that I push a button and I order from Amazon the brand that I always buy or I open my pantry and I say Alexa, will you buy me beef and it will buy the brand or type of beef that I always buy; if I just say order me meat it will order me the type of meat that I like. This removes the friction and makes it easier for consumers, and what that means is that we remove the amount of choice and the amount of effort that people have to put in to ordering their food. Even that is going to change rapidly with the voice and dash systems we still have to do something; we still have to talk to something or push a button. Were now seeing an evolution into the internet of things (e.g. appliances), and it starts with smart fridges. LG and Samsung already make smart fridges, which monitor whats inside them and allow you to order from the fridge door. This sounds like a really good thing, but what about when the system removes you completely? It knows the milk that you like and it knows when youre out of milk so it orders more milk. Sounds fine, completely frictionless from an ordering perspective. The thing that goes beyond that is when you start The digital consumer of the future NTCA YEAR IN REVIEW 2016/17 71
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