Grocery industry must learn to deal with short-term pressures, says IGD chief

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The global grocery industry is “undergoing a period of momentous change” giving it an “unprecedented opportunity to deliver an inspirational, exciting future for shoppers,” according to chief executive of the IGD, Joanne Denney-Finch.

But to take full advantage of this, companies must learn to deal with lots of short-terms pressures while building for a different future, she said.

“It’s a revolution in what products are sold, how they are sold and how they are made,” said Denney-Finch at a recent event in Kuala Lumpur. “It’s driven by technology, social and culture change and the economy, all marching together.

“The action centres on three big battles: food to go versus cook at home; online versus physical shopping; and big versus small stores.

“There’s been enormous change in our sector in just the two years since I spoke at this event in Manila, and yet the most dramatic change is yet to come. Everywhere we look, the market is reshaping, with the three ‘As’ – Aldi, Amazon and Alibaba – particularly powerful forces of change.”

Joanne said big stores will still be important in the future, but they’ll look very different.

“They’ll be more inspirational, featuring more fresh food and new products and more ways to taste, learn and discover,” she said.

“Retailers will be working extra hard to differentiate. They’ll make a big thing of their values and personality and they’ll have stronger links with their local communities, giving space for local initiatives and small companies. Tomorrow’s retailers will also compete fiercely over health, with strict nutritional standards for every product they sell. And they’ll be super-strict over provenance and ethics.”

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