Pandemic Food Tech

The Lempert Report
September 23, 2022

Phil: One of the good things about the pandemic is it really ramped up everything that we know in grocery, in food service, as it relates to technology. And the Food Institute just published a report about how some of this technology is gonna remain after the pandemic, and it's gonna help. What are some of those technologies that we should be paying attention to that's gonna be around for the rest of our lives?

Sally: Well, I think we're looking at curbside a lot, you know, that provided such a convenience to people and we already had it in some places before, but businesses were really forced to up their game with that. But we are seeing people since the pandemic has shifted, we are seeing people not having their groceries delivered as much, there are more than half think that it's unlikely, they will continue to have their groceries delivered, attend virtual activities. That's 62% say that, and 62% say that they,won't shop during the senior hours. So, um...

Phil: Especially if they're not seniors, exactly.

Sally: Especially if they're not seniors. Yes.

Phil: You know, but by the way, I hate to interrupt you, but early on in the pandemic, when all these retailers were having senior hours at like, you know, seven o'clock in the morning, you know, so you could get in there with less people. I saw a ton of people who were not seniors, sneaking in, you know, just to get in there. I mean, come on senior hours that was silly to begin with. Now, there are certain retailers that give senior discounts on certain days. That's totally different that I agree with, you know. Wednesdays or Tuesdays where it's a slower day, give your senior discounts. Absolutely. But this whole senior hour thing, sorry to interrupt. Keep going.

Sally: Yeah. So I, you know, we, I think with the delivery all of these things we do need to focus on keeping those technologies going. Contactless payment was a really important technology that came out of this that I think a lot of customers prefer, but it was interesting. I thought of you Phil, when you did your Good Morning America piece recently and showed people how to save money in the grocery store and you saved some shoppers $80 by showing them how to buy differently. I went to order my groceries as I got used to ordering my groceries the other day from Publix. And I noticed that the price was really, really high. And so I went to the grocery store and it was an $80 difference in me having them delivered than me going to the store and getting them. So there's, if we wanna keep those services going, then you know there's gotta be a little bit more balance, I think, in the pricing for that. And I also think people are just sort of eager to be in more interactive situations and with real people.

Phil: Absolutely. We relate better to people than we do to inanimate objects. So, you know, those robots going up and down the aisles, forget about them. They're great. They're great for a selfie to put up on Instagram, but yes, long term, it just doesn't work. Thanks Sally. Appreciate it.