As more of us look for ways to equalize our work / life balance, convenience is taking a larger hold on the value proposition of daily life – including how we find and shop for our food.
Forbes wrote about “grocerants”, the blending of grocery stores and restaurants, where we see more in-store dining and take-out ready food at our local grocer.
The Food Marketing Institute did a study which revealed online shopping will represent 20% of the grocery market by 2025, only seven years away. Already 40% of us shop for packaged foods online.
How has our food shopping changed, and what’s ahead in our food future? We went looking and found a few insights, but no matter the topic a key word is convenience.
Food shopping is becoming more of an experience than a task. We’re now accustomed to pharmacy and lifestyle products in large grocery stores and the in-store deli has evolved into a place to grab a quick bite.
It’s not a stretch to see food-tainment (we just made up that word): welcome to the “agri-food park”, with offshoots in larger urban centers and online shopping. Grocer meets restaurant meets educational center. That’s next-level foodism.
Online, Apps, & Delivery
Grocery shopping? There’s an app for that. Digital food purchasing is on the rise and technology is making it easy. Place your order online and pick up at the store at a time you choose, or have it delivered.
There’s even an app to help you “plan, shop, prepare, and cook”. We’ve heard of farm to table; this is phone to table. Science and technology can help with everything meal related, including talking to your “smart” appliances – holograph of Julia Child not included.
The option to scan, bag, and go with no cashiers or lineups might feel like a dystopian future sci-fi novel. But it’s not science fiction, it’s fact. And in early stages is an app that could allow users to shop a virtual store for snack or household items.
Technology and science are intersecting with food in new ways, answering questions we might not have known we had.
Convenience is Key
In the mid-2000s, retailers (on scale) started using automated checkouts with grocers not far behind. Online grocery shopping offers a “click and collect” option, with designated parking for those customers picking up.
A store doing the shopping for you? It’s out there. Farmers’ markets are also going virtual, like in San Francisco or Minnesota. Buy online and have it delivered or pick up at a local outlet (depending on the business).
With more attention paid to how retailers will get fresh produce in this virtual grocery world, easily snackable fruits like our nonbrowning Arctic® apples might be a good fit – almost as if it was meant to be.
While we don’t quite have enough apples yet, one never knows what the future might hold.