Four industry leaders share their opinion on what kind of technology will have the largest impact on the fresh perimeter in the near future.
Bede Jordan, co-founder and chief technology officer, Shelf Engine
Artificial intelligence will have a huge impact on grocery in the medium term. Everything from pricing to consumer trend tracking to sales forecasting and inventory management will be made more efficient and accurate through the use of data and machine learning. This will deliver lower prices to consumers and bottom-line growth for grocers.
Raj Shroff, founder and principal, PINE Strategy & Design
I think in the next 2-3 years the most impactful tech will still be more operation-centric, still not shopper-facing. AI decision-making type of tools will get better at determining supply, freshness, availability of meats, produce and other categories that require freshness. Predictive analytics will get better at driving micro-level assortment decisions to help reduce waste and ensure other efficiencies.
Rick Stein, vice president, fresh foods, FMI—The Food Industry Association
With labor shortages, food retailers can’t afford inefficiencies. For the fresh perimeter, this means technology that allows for proper production planning, ordering and supply will be valuable. For example, the foodservice department can use production technology so they cook 200 rotisserie chickens for the Friday demand, instead of cooking 300 and have surplus. In addition, technology that supports proper inventory ordering will be critical to knowing how much product grocers have on hand or need to order to avoid having too much or too little in the future.
Katie Hotze, CEO, Grocery Shopii
On the heels of a global pandemic, the explosion of eCommerce acceptance has opened the door to innovative merchandising solutions like hyper-personalized meal planning technology and recipe recommenders. These digital solutions increase fresh sales while solving for meal fatigue by selling recipes versus products, which has a direct impact on fresh perimeter sales. When the technology is integrated directly within the retailer’s site, the experience has even more positive impact by intensifying shopper loyalty and increasing cart size.