6 Food Trends for 2018

According to a recent article by fooddive.com, some of last year’s food trends such as healthy ingredients, complex flavor profiles and environmentally sustainable offerings will once again shape the food industry this year.

Their “top 6” predictions with respect to consumer demand this year are:

  1. Botanicals: Plants and flowers are springing up in food and beverage items as more consumers become interested in their potential healing properties.
  2. Transparency: Shoppers will continue to grow more interested in where their food comes from and how it was handled along the supply chain.
  3. Ethnic cuisine: Spicy flavors do well in the U.S., and many shoppers are exploring beyond basic hot sauces as food makers highlight more authentic, ethnic flavors.
  4. Science-based foods: A few futuristic products are already in stores and restaurants, and more will soon be on the way as companies work to develop and scale up state-of-the-art foods to meet the public’s growing appetite for these innovations.
  5. Sustainability: This trend has moved beyond merely producing food in an environmentally conscious ways and selling it in recyclable packaging.
  6. Indulgence foods: Comfort foods containing butter, lard and other fats and oils will be back in style.

Read the full article…

Kroger in the News Again: New Technology You Might Love!

According to a recent Business Insider article, Kroger is once again taking a bold step forward in trying to enhance the customer shopping experience by “rolling out a new technology to nearly 200 stores,that could change grocery shopping as we know it.”

This new development, which is called Kroger Edge, will be installed on store shelves in place of paper price tags, and will digitally display pricing and nutritional information, and even show video ads and coupons for various products.

The technology will enable the chain to instantly change prices and activate promotions across its stores, thus freeing up employees who would otherwise change prices by hand.

In the future, the technology will communicate with customers’ smartphones to help them complete their shopping lists.

Kroger Opens Culinary Innovation Center – Improving CX!

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that The Kroger Co. opened a Culinary Innovation Center, which includes a commercial kitchen with multiple cooking stations, spaces and capabilities, along with technology that allows video streaming of educational sessions to Kroger associates across the country.

The renovations to the two-story brick building in downtown Cincinnati totaled $2.5 million, the article said.

“Kroger’s new Culinary Innovation Center is an exciting state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center,” said Daniel Hammer, vice president of culinary development and new business at Kroger.

“As we focus on redefining the customer experience and developing talent through food inspiration and uplift, as outlined in Restock Kroger, this R&D lab will allow us to accelerate product development for Our Brands, produce new recipes for Prep + Pared Meal Kits, explore new restaurant concepts, host food tastings and focus groups, and increase our associates’ culinary knowledge.”

Read the full article…

On-line Food Retail Continues to Gain Momentum

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Target will begin offering same-day delivery to customers in three metro areas—Boston, Miami and Minneapolis—starting Feb. 1.

The move comes following the retailer’s December acquisition of Shipt, the article said.

The article went on to say that online retail is picking up speed at an even faster rate than previously thought, and that both Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen data suggest 70% of consumers will shop for groceries online by 2024.

The trend toward on-line shopping is a strong one for sure, but supermarkets by-and-large have significantly improved the level of customer service and the in-store shopping experience.

The question is, how can they combine the two “experiences” to build stronger levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty?

Read the full article…

What trends will shape grocery retail in 2018?

From immersive retail experiences to demand for hyper-local sourcing, here are their predictions for the top five trends that will shape grocery retailing in 2018:

HTTPS://WWW.FOODNAVIGATOR.COM/ARTICLE/2017/12/18/WHAT-TRENDS-WILL-SHAPE-GROCERY-RETAIL-IN-2018 

Top 10 2017 Industry Disruptors

Events or actions that had a significant impact on the retail food business this past year, as published by SupermarketNews:

  1. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Market
  2. German discounter Lidl entering the U.S. market
  3. The granularity of data and the speed with which it can be converted into insights and action
  4. The new position of Chief Digital Officer, reflecting the desire to find new ways to enhance the customer experience in the modern shopping environment
  5. The proposed mega-merger between CVS and health insurance provider Aetna
  6. Private label growth — a marked boom in store brands
  7. Plant-based alternatives to dairy: 58% of adults now drink non-dairy milk
  8. The hyperactive hurricane season disrupted retail operation in the gulf-and-south regions, and also demonstrated how adept food retailers have become at responding to natural disasters
  9. Blockchain technology, which is designed to provide real-time, public information on food products as they travel through the supply chain from producer to store

Sam Walton & the 5th “P”

In a recent article published by the International Speaker’s Bureau, author Michael Berghdahl referenced Sam Walton’s retail success, noting that Walton intuitively knew that retail marketing is all about the “4-P’s,” which are having the right products, price, placement, and promotion.

However, the article goes on to say that Sam Walton knew the “4 P’s” were not enough; that he was not satisfied to simply apply traditional methods, but rather always out to do more… to try new ideas.

“You might say he [Sam Walton] embraced change like a welcomed friend,” Berghahl wrote. “Never complacent, he sought ways to improve every aspect of the Walmart success formula each and every day.”

As part of this approach to continuous improvement, Walton figured out the key to creating a sustainable competitive advantage in the retail marketplace was by adding a “5th P” to his success formula: PEOPLE. Success required fully-engaged people working together as a high performing team, and serving his customers.

This perspective is consistent with the latest research on the critical importance and value of an engaged workforce.

But beware! Traditional efforts to engage employees have not been fruitful!!  These unsuccessful attempts have been haphazard at best, and have largely focused on trying to make employees happy.  Unfortunately, research and experience has proved that happy workers are not necessarily more productive workers.

Clearly a more strategic approach to engagement is needed, yet few retailers or organizations of any type have a formalized engagement strategy.

If you would like to create such a strategy, here are ten behaviors  you might initiate, which are based on research and experience that shows productive employees tend to be engaged employees, not the other-way-around.

Read more… 

Food Waste!

In a recent video report, Phil Lempert, “Supermarket Guru,” referenced a United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization statement indicating one-third of food gets spoiled or wasted.

That translates to approximately $1 trillion per year, or double the dollar volume of the grocery industry as a whole!

As you are most likely aware, to reduce food waste we have to control environmental conditions including temperature, moisture levels, and UV exposure all across the supply chain including on shoppers homes.

The Spoon reports that a group of researchers led by Giovanni Salvatore at ETH Zurich have developed a biocompatible microsensor that can be directly applied to food and is safe to eat. The sensor is made from a combination of edible materials such as magnesium and a compostable polymer made with corn and food starch.

But there is a problem – making them is currently very expensive, compared to pennies or even fractions of pennies for traditional RFID tags.

However, Salvatore predicts that these biodegradable sensors will be part of our everyday lives within 5 to 10 years.

Customers King at Kroeger?

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Kroger has launched a new improvement initiative to accelerate changes in assortments and better customer service.

While Kroeger has been in the news lately for considering the sale of its convenience stores, the new  “Restock Kroger” improvement initiative seems to be the bigger story. It will involve “an accelerated and more data-driven effort around pricing, personalized communications with customers, and a revamp of product assortments,” the article said.

“We will change the way people eat in the U.S.,” said Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO. “If you are eating, we want to serve you. Unless you are eating in a white tablecloth restaurant, we want to be able to provide that meal for you.”

Read the full article… 

Groceries Delivered & Put-Away in Your Home?

According to a recent posting on techcrunch.com, Walmart has announced that it will begin testing a new service that will allow customers with August smart home devices, like the August doorbell and security cameras, to have their packages and groceries delivered inside their home instead of left on the doorstep. Grocery orders won’t just be placed inside the house like the packages, but will be put away in the fridge and freezer, when appropriate.

The retailer says it will soon start this test in the Silicon Valley area with select customers who have opted into to try the new service.

Sounds like continuous process improvement and the trend toward innovative customer service continues!

Read the full story…