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How ‘food tech’ fared in 2023.png

5 things: How ‘food tech’ fared in 2023

Here’s 5 things you may have missed in grocery

Here’s the alternative: The food industry has had a “meh” response to food tech this past year. And by food tech, we’re talking alternative protein, bioengineered foods, discovery and review, ecommerce, food production, and restaurant and retail tech. Venture capital investment into the food tech world has experienced its eighth straight quarter in decline. In Q3, there were 205 deals worth $2 billion, which is down 13.9% from the previous quarter and 71% year over year. Instacart’s IPO has been the victory yell as of late, but taking on the food tech industry is different from other tech spaces because it usually calls for more capital expenditures and the R&D is a longer process. Both alternative proteins and bioengineered foods have experienced a slow crash and burn. Grocers simply are not dedicating as much self space to the products like they were a year or two ago, and according to Circana research, the quarterly consumption declines have been fierce this year. This year at least, the grocery industry is not going to bag food tech. —Bill Wilson

Dollar General goes viral: Pop quiz time. What do ChatGPT, Victoria’s Secret, and Keystone Light beer have in common with discount grocer Dollar General? They are among the fastest growing brands among Gen Z adults, according to a new report by data analytics firm Morning Consult. The company’s “Fastest Growing Brands 2023” report revealed that — surprise, surprise — Gen Z, the youngest cohort analyzed in the report, has some of the thriftiest shoppers. “The 84-year-old retailer earned the No. 15 spot in our Gen Z ranking this year after seeing an 11-point jump in purchasing consideration from the beginning of the year,” the report noted. It’s not just high prices that are driving Gen Zers to Dollar General, though. The social media platform TikTok has helped spread the word about Dollar General far and wide with its viral videos. The study shows that 66% of adult Gen Z consumers have a favorable opinion of the discount grocer. That stat jumps to 71% for Gen Z TikTok users and to 76% for Gen Z consumers who use TikTok on a daily basis. “TikTok is doing more than driving purchasing consideration for Dollar General; it’s helping to build a better impression of the brand,” according to the report. —Timothy Inklebarger 

Who is CVS’ drug price revamp good for? Not necessarily consumers, according to this piece of reporting from CNN Business. Earlier this month, the company announced plans to make its drug pricing system simpler and more transparent. But that may not translate into lower costs or more clarity for consumers. The retailer’s new CVS CostVantage model is supposed to revamp how its pharmacies are paid for prescription medications. But CVS CostVantage will not directly affect patients buying drugs at the pharmacy counter. Rather, the arrangement is between CVS Pharmacy and the pharmacy benefit managers and payors, including insurers and employers that provide coverage to Americans. Savings will be passed along to the PBMs and payors, and ultimately it’s up to them to decide how much they’ll pass along to their members. Exactly how much of that savings translates to consumers remains to be seen. —Chloe Riley

Enter the Grocerant: So-called Grocerants — a hybrid of grocery stores and restaurants — are not a new thing, but the concept is growing in popularity, according to grocery industry analyst Phil Lempert, who recently discussed the topic with the Miami Herald. Lempert told the newspaper that prior to the pandemic, nearly a third of grocery stores across the country had a cafe of some sort, but that statistic dropped to roughly 10-15% during the era of social distancing and online grocery shopping. But in-store eateries are making a comeback, according to Lempert. “Over the past 12 months or so we have seen them re-opened and building momentum once again,” Lempert told the Herald. He said the trend is a direct challenge to stand-alone restaurants, particularly quick-serve restaurants like Chili’s. “The goal of the supermarket — especially those like Publix who pride themselves on quality and service — is to be shoppers’ No. 1 when it comes to all things food,” Lempert said in the article. —TI

A Costco divided: Costco is ruffling some feathers with the release of their new shopping carts, according to a recent report on The cooking website noted that some people love the carts, which supposedly offer a smoother shopping experience, but others not so much. Apparently, the new carts are missing cupholders, which has some shoppers fuming. The “bulkiness” and “steering” are also points of contention with the new carts, proclaim critics on the internet. Others love the baskets, which are deeper than the previous model, but one Costco member noted that the greater depth could be a hassle for elderly, handicapped, and pregnant customers. While the carts are deeper, the child seats are shallower, leaving one commenter on the online message board Reddit worried that their kid could fall out. Do they “ride like a dream,” as one Costco user declared? The jury is still out. —TI


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