This week we bring you the 2012 food trends to watch. Today's trend number five is all about technology.
Trend #5: The end of the checkout lane
Many shoppers are learning to appreciate the tech-savvy nature of self-checkouts, comparing prices at nearby retailers, cell phone scanners, in-store interactive media devices, QR codes, RFID and mobile coupons that state-of-the-art retailers increasingly deliver on the promise of independent, efficient and information rich store visits. Supermarket retailers are faced with a problem – the GS1 DataBar standards are impending, and barcode scanners need to be updated which is a huge investment. At the same time chains including Wal-Mart and Macy’s are pushing suppliers to add RFID chips to individual items. And then there is Google Wallet and other mobile device apps that will allow shoppers not only the opportunity to find out nutritional, allergy and country of origin information on individual products, but also allow them to receive special offers, electronic coupons, flash sales and to checkout themselves. For many shoppers high-tech adds to personalization with suggested purchases and targeted offers based on their histories in the store, which is typically delivered in a functional way. A change is about to happen where high-tech meets high-touch in a warm and friendly way that reinforces the central community nature and feel of the local supermarket. If you are hesitant to believe, just think back to the last time you saw a phone booth.