In his address on “Growing the Future: What’s in Store” Monday morning, IDDBA CEO Mike Eardley laid out three areas of focus for the organization and its members.
A new development in omnichannel that could be a partner or a threat is what Eardley called digital intermediaries. One type of digital intermediaries are companies like GrubHub, Postmates and Instacart that allow consumers to bypass the grocer’s own digital channels. While such companies might help improve sales with limited capital investment, Eardley warned they could also become the competition if shoppers develop more of a connection with them than with the supermarket. Such companies also threaten grocers when they own their shoppers’ data.
2. Food Safety
IDDBA’s food safety focus this year is allergens. The association’s research found only 5% of consumers knew if the employees where they shopped were trained or certified on food allergies, but 60% would shop at a store more often if its employees had that training. “If you do it, promote it,” said Eardley. “If you don’t, start now.”
Eardley pointed out for many shoppers food allergies are a matter of life or death.
3. Future of Food
A few of the food trends supermarkets should be paying attention to are consumers’ desire for “free-from” foods, the changing definition of what’s healthy, and the surge in pre-made or semi-prepared meals typical of the grocerant experience, said Eardley.
IDDBA has conducted research with Nielsen Perishables Group to study how retailers can grow in-store bread sales, which have not kept pace with overall gains in the department. Millennials in particular are not buying in-store bread. These consumers value health and wellness, but only 5% of in-store breads have some sort of declared health claim.
“We do have the opportunity to expand sales to this Millennial group if we challenge our attributes. Call out things like ancient grains and organic ingredients,” said Eardley.
The association has research and resources available on all of these topics, as well as its annual What’s in Store report, on its website.
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