Complex picture emerging on future of food retailing
The future of food retailing remains less vulnerable to e-commerce than many other categories and the development path for many of the main players will differ by location, category and value according to a panel at World Retail Congress this afternoon.
Michael Love, Group CEO, Netto, said: “Most discounters will see that you can’t differentiate on price any longer, so we have to differentiate on other things. For us it is about making the fresh product easier, to save time for our consumers. To do this we have had to look at our when-they-are- gone-they-are-gone aisles, because this effects the SKUs so we are having to think about this and how we create more space for food.”
Citing the slow adoption of online retail in the grocery sector, even the most developed market, the UK, he said: “Online will grow but it will take a long time to really penetrate.”
Ata Koseoglu, Advisor, Carrefour Turkey agreed and said that convenience – a major driver of online sales - is about location and service in the food sector. “The smartness of the data is important in supply chain and product choices,” he said of technology, while he speculated that hypermarket growth would slow but would not decline in Turkey, despite the international trend towards smaller supermarkets.
Love added that another challenge for the market is to deliver sustainability initiatives that genuinely make a difference.
“On sustainability there is a race between what consumers believe should happen and what should really happen,” he said. “We partner with the World Wildlife Fund to make responsible decisions. What is very clear is that biodegradable plastic is a terrible solution, for example, but customers are calling for it and we have to explain the reasons for our strategies.”