Scottish food and drink companies are increasingly using virtual reality technology to drive sales, provide a transparent food supply chain, and enrich customer experience.
The use of interactive storytelling in business is growing. Virtual reality (VR) it seems is here to stay.
The market is estimated to grow 113% annually from around 11 billion USD in 2017 to a forecast of up to 215 billion USD by 2021. The three largest segments of VR users are retailers, manufacturers and consumers.
Retailers employ VR to represent products in a digital and virtual dimension, whereas food and drink manufacturers use VR to provide information and to visualise complex processes better.
The benefit to consumers of VR technology is that it gives them a new dimension of viewing the food supply chain and specific branded experiences from another angle. This can enrich the customer product experience.
Enhancing consumer senses
Interesting marketing concepts are happening in the VR food and drink world. The Nescafe and Google VR experience allows users to view coffee fields in Brazil via a mobile phone app and google viewer. This visual enjoyment, a major part of any eating and drinking experience, can be extremely useful to educate and inspire consumers to action.
Boursin Sensorium was a VR customer experience that paired motion, scents, and tasting samples of Boursin cheese.
While closer to home, Scottish beer brand, Innis & Gunn, used VR to complement the taste of their beer, by showing how virtually transporting drinkers to different Scottish landscapes affected the taste of the beer.
VR and the health of a nation
A recent study of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in the US, showed how VR can be used for preventing childhood obesity by looking at parental behaviour. A VR tool, showing a realistic buffet setting, was used to assess eating behaviour, and determine children’s portion sizes by choices made by parents.
A real-world setting was then used to compare the results.The results showed that VR dish sizes were close to the ones in a real-world setting, making it a more realistic approach compared to current tests.
So, VR is proving an innovative approach in assessing eating behavior, with future applications being used to educate parents on healthy eating habits and practices.
Scottish companies are already successfully used VR as a marketing tool, but there is plenty of space for more VR in business practices and marketing.
VR has many uses. It could, for example, potentially help to tackle obesity, and other food-related disorders, and give eating a totally new dimension.
VR can also connect manufacturers, products and consumers in an entirely new way. Food and drink businesses can use this tool and combine the real world with the digital world, making things like factory tours accessible for everyone from home.
VR is gaining popularity globally, and the Scottish food and drink sector could benefit from this trend to increase growth and strengthen customer relationships.
Next step for your business
Want to understand more about the potential use of virtual reality in Scotland? Our innovation connectors are here to help. Make Innovation Happen is a free, one-stop-shop for innovation support available to the Scottish food and drink industry.
Are you looking for support to become more innovative? Are you working on something new or different that will add value to your business?
Whether it involves product development, your processes or employees, Make Innovation Happen can help you explore your ideas and develop them all the way through to market.
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