Advances in technology will have profound implications to the way we shop and the food we choose to buy, according to Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, the international grocery and food research body.
Speaking at IGD’s annual convention on Tuesday (10 October), Ms Denney-Finch said the ease with which today’s younger generation grasped advances in technology meant the nation’s shopping habits would be increasingly dependant on the internet.
She pointed to research recently carried out by IGD which surveyed a group of people aged 13 to 40 and asked them how they expected to be buying their groceries in 10 years’ time.
Just 31% said they would use a supermarket for everything, 13% anticipate using online shopping for everything, while 28% said they will use a mixture of both.
“Perhaps you’re thinking that online shopping is pretty irrelevant because it’s only 1% of the grocery market. But as the baby boomers reach retirement more and more people will rely on deliveries to the home.”
Reaping big benefits
Those who build relationships now with the “fifty and sixty-somethings” will reap big benefits in the future, said Ms Denney-Finch.
The survey also revealed a growing demand for specialist foods and a willingness by consumers to pay more for specialist produce.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King commented that consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment and the provenance of food. Cost, he said, is no longer the most important factor when consumers make their buying decisions.
Mr King referred to Sainsbury’s recent decision to support milk producers who are converting to organic milk by listing the milk in stores as “in-conversion” milk.
“In our stores where we sell in-conversion milk it accounts for 20% of our milk sales. Consumers know what they’re buying and they want to play their part,” said Mr King.
But he admitted that Sainsbury’s would be forced to import organic milk this winter to meet demand.
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