2018 Food Trend #10 - Future Supermarkets

The Lempert Report
January 15, 2018

Our final insight focuses on what the supermarket itself may look like in 2018 and beyond. It’s been a game-changing year for our industry and has set the foundation in place for an entirely new way to look at supermarkets.

In 1989 I sat down with Herbert Hofer, a European artist and shared my vision for what I hoped the Supermarket in the Year 2000 would be. No aisles, no gondolas, lots of fresh foods, lots of excitement, no checkstands, products grouped by meal occasions - topline a food experience second to none. We haven’t gotten there yet, but the stores that are being built today are closer to this vision than ever.

Its time we rethink the 4 walled structure – much like Apple has done for their new headquarters. Marsh supermarkets was a pioneer in testing a new concept that was groundbreaking.

We should wake up each morning thinking about how we can make the shopping experience better. UNATA reports that 68% of those who shop online are likely to switch retailers for a better online experience. Actually 1 in 3 switch personalized offers based on history.

And we should have what I spoke about at the start – a unique curiosity and be open to what can be. Eataly World opened November 15th in Bologna with a million square feet of everything food. 40 farming factories. $0 restaurants. 6 educational rides. A Disneyland for foodies if you will. They predict 10 million visitors a year (Disneyworld attracts just under 20 million). This is a blueprint for ideas we should be incorporating in our stores. Taste, education, excitement and empowerment – 4 things every supermarket should stand for.

Also in Italy, this time in Milan, The Coop – the supermarket of the future – uses technology to give shoppers total transparency and total information. A look into how we should be using Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality.

We are witnessing Food Halls popping up throughout the country – how do we incorporate this into our stores? We know these bring excitement – but there is also many inefficiencies that supermarket operations can solve. Food Halls grew by 37% in 2016. Hy-Vee has done it, ShopRite has done it – Mariano’s has done it – to name just a few. And what it says to shoppers is that “we are all things food”.

And then there is the new model that Addidas and B8TA both here in Santa Monica are testing. Showroom only stores – products can’t be purchased – but a great idea to introduce new food products that could be incorporated in every store.

We spoke earlier about indoor farming and the opportunities. IN Japan supermarkets have put greenhouses on top of, or adjacent to supermarkets. Why not put a greenhouse right inside the store and allow shoppers to pick their own? After all we have beer and wine coolers, why not?

Coles has launched a “quiet hour” once a week where there are no PA announcements, no music, no stocking shelves, no commotion to offer the parents of the 1 in 6 children that have a developmental disability a haven to shop.

Waste free supermarkets continue to grow globally, but here in the US only one, in Austin Texas, in.gredients, has made a commitment and should be a model for all stores to learn from.

It’s time to build stores that are truly energy efficient with solar glass block and solar roofing that not only reduces energy but created additional energy that can power an entire store.

Online grocery is at the top of everyone’s list and there is no doubt that it will continue to grow and evolve.

Click & Collect will become the dominant online channel for all the reasons described here today. Convenience, security, quality. Shoppers do want to have a relationship with their supermarket. They don’t want the experience to be faceless. And sometimes they just don’t have the time or desire to step into the door.

Online delivery will become more fractured, and more local. As we see these companies popping up on the landscape – local with a specialty, and unique relationships with farmers and purveyors and offer curated offerings – not the 40,000 products that are on the shelves; and many of which aren’t on the shelves at all. We see the national and regional delivery players shifting to the auto replenishment model.

One of the biggest threats to traditional grocers is being created by blockchain technology. INS Ecosystem wants to reinvent the way people shop for food they have raised over $60 million and Unilever is a partner.Thie goal is to out efficient-ize Amazon. 

As much as tech might want to disrupt the way people shop and make everything more efficient. Lets remember that this business is all about people and our relationship to them. Its time to imagine just what a supermarket can be.