Louise McWhirter, head of insight at London-based retail research company Him! told Food Vision delegates that retailers of the future need to give consumers shopping experiences that are “powered by technology” and provide ways to shop in a personal, authentic experience.
But it can’t be done simply for the sake of it. It must give value back to the consumer or make life easier in some way, and there are a number of innovative companies that are doing this already.
Target lets people scan individual pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables into an app that instantly provides information on the nutrition content as well as how fresh or ripe the food is. Consumers then pay a price based on the freshness.
McWhirter spoke of a salad bar in London allows people to tailor make their own salads, choosing how much of a particular ingredient they want to add in, using an app with sliding bar. The nutrition composition of their bespoke salad is instantly calculated and the price of the salad is dependent on what’s in it.
Meanwhile Amazon Go looks set to transform the way people shop in supermarkets. It is a cashier-free shop with an invisible checkout. Consumers select the goods they want and simply walk out of the shop. The price of their groceries is automatically calculated using computer vision and sensors, and the total deducted from their bank accounts.
Nutragenomics is another area where retail solutions and apps will come together.
“The combination of the desire for healthy foods and convenience means that nutrigenomics is one area where there is big potential,” said McWhirter, especially given that many of the apps currently on the marketplace now are not user-friendly enough.