Technology will enhance rather than replace the convenience store

Chair: Smart Kitchen Summit Founder Mike Wolf, ICAx Head Samuel Young, Coop Head of Online Claes Hessel

We’re running a series of stories all week to highlight what we learnt from our recent ‘Future Kitchen’ event. We invited food, kitchen and tech industry leaders to our headquarters to look deeper into the digital technologies, business models and societal shifts changing how the consumer eats, buys, stores and prepares food.

Highlight five

Online food shopping won’t fully replace the grocery store as consumers still look to the physical store for their convenience shopping, but data will enable a more personalized food shopping experience in the future.

Discussing the Future of Grocery, Head of ICAx, Swedish food chain ICA’s innovation hub, Samuel Young said: “It’s impossible to only shop grocery online. You need to do the small add-ons and what you feel like eating tonight in the physical store. It’s a way to go before we go 100 per cent.”

However, supermarkets are moving to ‘dark stores’ – or warehouses – that will support the non-fresh online shopping while the character of the supermarkets will change over time to provide fresh food in ‘more of a restaurant feel’, admitted Young.

Data will play a big role in the future of grocery, enabling supermarkets to be more intelligent and automate the supply goods to the consumer – 60 per cent of shoppers buy the same products each time online for example.

The overall aim is to personalize the shopping experience so the point of sale eventually begins at home. COOP Head of Online Claes Hessel said: “We’re looking into if we could get information from the consumer telling us they are cooking the salmon, and then we can help them.” He warned however that since eCommerce took 15 years to set up, personalization at this level is a long-term goal.