Given the ever-changing nature and complexity of the food retail industry, challenges and difficulties are not a novel thing. However, with lingering, pandemic-induced effects still in evidence accelerated adoption of technology in the food retail landscape, and supply chain issues continuing to take their toll, the challenges in the upcoming year have the potential to be particularly taxing to grocers.
As we look ahead into this year, trends, as well as challenges in food retail, are poised to shape how we do things in the industry. Let’s take a look at four issues surrounding food retail that will surely challenge grocers:
Inflation Continues to Affect Retailers and Consumers
Inflation will continue to be a major challenge for grocers, and it will heavily affect how consumers shop in the new year. Retailers will continue to face rising costs of goods and raw materials as well as increasing operational costs, in general. While consumers are becoming hyper-aware of getting the best value out of their dollar spend, they are becoming increasingly price-sensitive, which is leading some of them to choose private brands as a less expensive alternative.
The Sustainability Movement Will Be Major
In 2023 and the years ahead, the sustainability movement will be a major factor for food retailers of all sizes. At this point, sustainability in food retail is more than just using natural refrigerants and sustainable refrigeration solutions—it is moving towards a holistic approach, encompassing everything from how retailers source and produce their products, up to the environment-friendly packaging used for products. Grocers are constantly challenged as to how and where they should integrate their sustainability efforts as these are elements growing in importance for consumers wanting to see companies accept accountability for how their businesses impact the environment.
Supply Chain Disruptions Likely to Persist
Supply chain disruptions will continue to be a major threat to the food retail industry and a significant hindrance for grocers in meeting the increasing demand of consumers. Whether due to global labor shortage, product scarcity, unprecedented natural calamities, or logistical delays and failures, the uncertainties within the supply chain will have a key impact on retailers and customers alike. Food retailers need to be prepared, more vigilant, and strategic in working with their suppliers to effectively bridge the gap.
The Pressure to Adopt Technology Is On
Grocers are challenged to adopt technology in their retail stores to elevate the consumers’ shopping experience. Technologies, such as self-service kiosks, frictionless payment systems, and mobile apps are just some of the innovative tools retailers should embrace to retain existing customers and simultaneously attract new ones. Since consumers are becoming more in tune with using technology, especially in making their grocery shopping more convenient, having these advanced technological tools in grocery stores will greatly help grocers boost their operational effectiveness and resultant bottom line.
Food retail is a core industry in our society—built upon the pillars of resiliency, adaptability, and stability. With these values, the issues that are forecasted to challenge grocers in 2023 are just more hurdles we need to face head-on, together. Our willingness and preparedness to face these challenges are surely what will empower us to win, not just in the new year, but for many years to come.