Plant-Based Food Has Been One of the Drivers of Consumer Trends For First Half of 2018

Plant-Based Food Has Been One of the Drivers of Consumer Trends For First Half of 2018

In this Special Report, our host Paul Barron takes the time to share with us some of the most interesting pieces of data from the Mid-Year Consumer Trends report.

Our sister company, Foodable Labs, analyzed 162K food influencers and 6.2 million conversations to determine what lays at the heart of consumer trends for the first half of 2018. As Paul Barron points out in this podcast, what constitutes a 'food influencer' for the purposes of this report, is an individual who's had five engagements with a restaurant a month, in terms of frequency.

There are five categories that the Mid-Year Consumer Trends report is based on and in this special podcast, you'll listen to Paul Barron's analysis of the data.

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Kroger’s Makes Tech Moves to Compete with Amazon

Kroger

After Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition, the pressure on food companies to offer consumers more on-demand food options has drastically increased.

Grocery stores are scrambling to introduce new programs to compete. 

Kroger, one of the largest grocery chains competing with Amazon, shares have slipped by 13 percent over the past year. Two days after Amazon’s big announcement, the shares fell 26 percent. 

According to “The Post,” Kroger is considering a partnership with the China-based e-commerce supermarket, Jack Ma’s Alibaba. 

The grocery giant is looking to expand its online orders.

“Alibaba has teamed up with Kroger … to speed up the integration of online and off-line sales,” according to report in a Chinese government press release published last week. 

Alibaba has the technology for cashier-less stores and apparently, Kroger and Alibaba’s executives had a meeting last month.

“I think this would involve two things, technology and capital, which Alibaba has in spades,” said Scott Galloway, NYU marketing professor and author of “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google,” to “NY Post.” “Kroger has scant technology and relative to Amazon has scant capital.”

At the end of January, Kroger announced that the company would be rolling out shopping technology at 400 stores.

Customers will be able to use a wireless handheld scanner or the Scan, Bag, Go app for a quicker customer check-out experience. 

"With every new product, service and technology integration, Kroger is redefining the customer experience and reimagining the store of the future," said Chris Hjelm, Kroger's executive vice president and chief information officer. "After testing Scan, Bag, Go in several locations, we are bringing this transformative technology to new stores across the country through Restock Kroger."

Read more about how Kroger is allegedly expanding its tech partnership with Alibaba at “NY Post”

The Food Market of Tomorrow: What Premium Stores are Looking For on the Summer Fancy Food Show Floor

Specialty food markets, like Whole Foods and smaller grocery stores are offering customers not only premium, fine products, but also a more enjoyable shopping experience.

Foodable has partnered with the Specialty Food Association to cover this year's Summer Fancy Food Show where guest host and Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert sat down with leaders from some of the grocery chains elevating the food retail space. 

So when these individuals go to a show like this with thousands of different products to explore, what are they looking for?

"The best thing we can do for our customer is find that thing that they don't know they want yet," said Trip Straub, president and CEO of Straub's Markets. "Sure, we want to get the latest trend type items, the best selling type items and bring those to even St. Louis where they will sell. But those items that we can source, that we have tasted, that are phenomenal and we know the story behind the producer...we need to bring that to St. Louis because they may not have heard about that if they don't leave town. Those are the winners we are looking for on the show floor."

Although the Fancy Food Show is a great place to discover new products from all over the world, Whole Foods has a program where the chain partners with local foragers. 

"We have a great local program where we have established that credibility in the community and in the regional levels, so right now we have 11 autonomous regions and we have representatives who are out on the field seeking not just produce, but other types of opportunities to integrate into our portfolio of products," said Cathy Strange, the global executive coordinator at Whole Foods Market. "We have had great success with brands that now have turned into big commercial brands and were proud to be a part of that success."

Guests also discuss how important it is to keep the trust of today's highly-educated consumer.

"In the last 10 years, what I have experienced at Kings, is about building that brand trust and that trust with the consumer that when they come into your store they know it's going to be fresh, it's on point, it tastes delicious, it's healthy for them, and it meets their needs, "said Scott Zoeller, vice president of deli, meat and seafood at Kings Super Markets.

Learn more about how food markets have evolved and what the future holds in the video above!

Grocery Stores Get a Tech Upgrade

Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Times

Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Times

Connected New Age consumers are taking over the market - and quite literally, at that.  

With the exception of Whole Foods and similar markets, grocery stores are a bit behind the times. Generic, if you will. But that could all change with more tech advancements in the near future.

Outlets like Amazon Fresh, which provides online ordering and same-day delivery, are quickly becoming a popular alternative to regular grocery stores simply because of their ability to create a personalized, quick and easy way to shop. In-store brands, like Whole Foods, also provide a pleasurable shopping experience. That is, after all, what Millennials want: an experience. Read More