Even though the retail food sector seems more tumultuous and uncertain as the years go by, grocers are more optimistic than they've been in recent years, according to Progressive Grocer's Annual Report of the Grocery Industry. Supermarket operators are encouraged by a peak in consumer confidence; however, the prospects for national immigration reform, the proposed Border Adjustment Tax, lingering deflation and ongoing competitive pressures do draw some concern.
Grocers are also worried about online retailers, leading them to invest more time and resources in online ordering, click-and-collect and home delivery services. It is more important than ever for these brick-and-mortar retailers to bridge the gap between in-store and online shopping, and offer a more seamless omnichannel experience.
This need for differentiation and technology innovation is apparent to not only retailers, but manufacturers as well. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Co., notes food sales in the future will be "flexible and fully automated." Future commerce will need to be "frictionless" and connected kitchens will reinvent how food is bought and eaten. Customers will become accustomed to convenience above all else, with staples being refilled automatically based on consumption habits, purchase data and calendar apps, reported Philadelphia Business Journal.
Morrison predicts the local food movement will continue to grow, increasing the need for "networks of small-scale suppliers and modular factories to source ingredients and produce more agilely." Consumers will continue to look for local product lines that "offer authentic stories." The next frontier will be personalization, especially in diet recommendations and nutrition advice.
According to Nielsen, e-commerce drove 1% of topline growth for grocery, compared to relatively flat growth in the traditional brick and mortar grocery channel. E-commerce was named the crucial channel to watch, and is primed to drive growth for the fast-moving consumer goods market.
For more information on the future of food retailing, attend our free webinar "Future of Food Retailing: Winning the 'Me Generation' through Shopper Analytics," featuring Willard Bishop and sponsored by BMO Harris Bank. Register here
Jennette has been with The Food Institute since 2013. As Marketing Director, she is responsible for promoting all Food Institute books, seminars and webinars, as well as writing and editing the Food Institute’s annual publications. Additionally, she writes for and edits the daily news update, Today in Food, and contributes to the biweekly Food Institute Report. She has a background in non-profit and environmental marketing, programming and writing, and graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in Communication Studies.
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