The food retail industry has been immensely challenged, disrupted, and altered in the past several years, especially since the onset of the global health crisis. Now, as consumer behavior changes and the adoption of technology throughout the food retail landscape booms, the industry is in constant transition.
Year over year, we have seen different trends and innovations shaping the food retail industry and the coming year isn’t any different. Soon enough, 2023 will be right at our doorsteps, bringing with it new trends in food, retail operation, and grocery shopping.
Here are some food retail predictions for 2023 and how grocers can gain a heads-up:
Food Preferences on the Horizon
One main topic for discussion when it comes to food trends we expect to see in 2023 is the desire for people to eat sustainable, healthy, and functional foods. Meat, seafood alternatives, and clean labels (a move towards shorter ingredient lists without artificial chemicals and with familiar ingredients) are predicted to be in consumers’ grocery baskets next year as shoppers are willing to look for healthier options that are minimally processed and free from additives. Likewise, functional foods and beverages for mental and emotional wellness are also expected to be in demand in the coming year with the gradual legalization and advent of the regularization of certain controlled substances.
Investments in Technology
Technological investments will continue to bring exponential benefits to the food retail industry in 2023. This involves offering an omnichannel experience to customers to improve their path to purchase; investing in AI technology to better understand shopping patterns; and streamlining and automating operations with the help of robotics, especially in distribution spaces. Not limited to just food retail operations, the food service industry will also get leverage from adopting advanced technology, such as using payroll management systems; QR codes for store transactions and inventory management; and enhanced customer loyalty programs.
Sustainability Across the Board
Sustainability efforts from grocers will not go to waste in the year ahead since customers are expected to heavily consider this factor in their buying decisions. As customers think about their grocery shopping impact on the planet, business owners should integrate sustainability across the board — not just in products — but also in their operations. Sustainability can be holistically implemented by ethically sourcing ingredients and products; using environmentally friendly packaging; adopting natural refrigeration solutions; and minimizing their overall operational carbon footprint.
Navigating 2023 and beyond in the food retail industry requires planning ahead and constantly providing value to customers by supporting their needs and reacting to changes as demonstrated by their shopping behavior. To keep up, food retailers of all sizes should stick to what’s working while continuing to innovate and find ways to be on top — not just on the trends — but also in their competitive position.