Will modern technology and the rise of digital-savvy Millennials stepping into the position of household decision-makers be the death of grocery stores?
A recent National Geographic article raises the question with an underlying sense of agreement, but we beg to differ — at least, not for many years to come. Though VCs are investing more into food technology, the traditional infrastructure of grocery stores that breeds familiarity cannot be replaced. The writer makes a great point: “Grocery tech must feel human, comforting, and intuitive, like the very act of eating, in a way that other commerce doesn’t require.” But can technology really invoke those feelings?
The original article considers the replacement will come in the form of mobile apps and online delivery services, which would be transported directly out of warehouses. But as consumers become more educated and sophisticated with food & beverage, we want to be more involved with the selection of what goes into our bodies. We want to pick the most crisp kale and the juiciest peaches — not rely on a middleman to do it for us.
We will certainly have more options available to us — and that’s what consumers want — but what happens if you forget to grab a specific ingredient for tonight’s dinner? If grocery stores die out, what’s the alternative for last minute, day-of shopping? Perhaps this is an opportunity for grocery stores to restructure in small ways to enhance a shopper’s experience. For example, a handful of grocery stores have taken to rooftop gardens by teaming up with local food startups. Read More