The past two days, RetailDetail and Easyfairs organized their first Food Congress together, titled ‘The Future of Food’. During the event, professionals from the food sector presented their vision, expectations, success stories and best practices regarding the future of the food industry. Besides interesting keynote speakers, including Deliveroo and eFarmz.be, there was also the possibility for food retailers to let others experience their products in the Mercado, “an experience market where manufacturers can display their latest products and food concepts in a cozy and inspiring atmosphere” (Source: EasyFairs).
A congress like this one is the ideal opportunity for many retailers to learn what others are doing. They’ll learn what the most innovative players on the market are doing in order to stay ahead of the game. The most creative and inventive ideas, the ideas that disrupt the current market and that satisfy customers’ needs, are the ones most likely to succeed. To inspire your next move in the food industry, we’ve come up with a list of the most creative and innovative food retailers of the moment.
Source: Sounder Bruce
Technically, they’re not a food retailer but as the most disruptive technology giant from the past years, they definitely secured themselves a position in this list. Amazon dived deep into the grocery and food market from the United States when it acquired Whole Foods in June 2017. Jeff Bezos’ company then started to offer its customers the possibility to deliver their groceries within two hours. Now, the company is the largest seller of groceries online.
The company introduced another innovative idea by implementing Amazon Go, a store where you can simply walk in and out to buy your groceries. You simply take what you need and ‘just walk out’. No need for checkout: your Amazon Go app on your smartphone handles all the financial details. Retail of the future?
The German retailer launched an in-store farm in one of its retail stores in Berlin. The farm, located in the Friedrichshain neighborhood, was designed by Infarm, a pioneer in farming services that helps metropoles become self-sufficient in their food production.
The Kräuter Garten – the Herb Garden – system can grow herbs and lettuce on demand of the store’s customers. The Kräuter Garten uses much less water and the produced herbs do not need to travel anywhere: they’re already in the store. Moreover, the in-store farm does not require pesticides and is thus 100% organic! METRO is now able to provide her customers products which are healthier, fresher and better for the environment.
The Italian supermarket chain technically hasn’t rolled out its concept yet in actual stores, but its ‘Supermarket of the Future’ definitely deserves a spot in this list of innovators. In 2015, Coop Italia showcased its vision at a food-themed expo in Milan and inventive technology dominates its vision of the future.
In the ‘Supermarket of the Future’, sensors, robots, interactive screens and apps will help you learn more about the products you’re buying, and help you in finding just the right ones for you […] The Supermarket of the Future is, in a nutshell, an ultramodern sustainable take on the traditional local food market, with the benefits of high-tech equipment such as cloud technology, IoT and mobile technology (Source: Microsoft).
Motion sensors detect the product a customer is looking at and a smart display showcases all the information about that product. The display presents the ingredients of the food as well as the origin, the potential allergens, the food’s carbon footprint and even potential wine pairings. Coop Italia thought about everything!
The London start-up is on a mission to fight the food waste in the world. What’s more, the company does not only care about food waste: they also re-use their boxes, which in addition are 100% recyclable! Oddbox is clearly on a mission to change the way we think about food and the environment.
The company directly works with local farmers and growers and delivers their ‘wonky and surplus produce’ like fresh fruit and vegetables straight to your door. Bonus: you can also get your box full of fruit delivered at the office for a healthy snack. And, Oddbox also has some amazing recipes which you can use to cook your next perfect, healthy and environmental-friendly meal. Your new delivery box?
Another German food retailer in our list! Lidl is not only an innovator in the field of low prices, but also demonstrates that it’s an out-of-the-box company. Firstly, Lidl surprised several European followers by opening pop-up restaurants in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Greece. The surprise? Guests enjoyed fine meals, cooked by Michelin chefs, entirely created with Lidl discount products. A memorable experience for sure!
Another innovation from Lidl was when the company introduced its first zero carbon store in Brussels, back in 2014! The retailer provides the opportunity to let customers charge their electronic cars or bikes. In additon, Lidl made sure the entire building was insulated perfectly. Moreover, Lidl only installed LED-lightning, which is better for the environment. And on top of all that, the Lidl-store also had solar panels installed on its roof. In short, Lidl greatly values the environment and a greener retail industry.
Inspired by these innovative food retailers?
All of the innovative examples we mentioned here make sure that their innovations are centered on technology. Oddbox is an e-commerce company that ships fresh vegetables. Coop Italia uses the latest technology to create the ‘Supermarket of the Future’. And, Amazon lets customers make purchases without having to wait at checkout. Technology is the future of retail:
The rules of retailing indeed are being rewritten in this time of transformative change. Innovation, collaboration, consolidation, integration, and automation will be required to reinvigorate commerce, profoundly impacting the way retailers do business now, and in the future (Source: Deloitte).
Are you ready to start implementing the latest technologies. Are you ready to become an innovative food retailer like Amazon, Lidl or Coop Italia? Any other disruptive and creative food retailers we forgot to mention? Don’t forget to share your favorite innovation with your retail colleagues.