The Potential for Artificial Intelligence in Food Retail Jan 22, 2018 By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Private Brands & Technology, Food Marketing Institute According to a fall 2017 MIT study, 85 percent of executives believe artificial intelligence will transform their companies, but only one in five have done anything to begin incorporating it into their operations. When you think about AI you might immediately jump to the idea of robots and computers. But the reality is that a lot of AI applications are around leveraging both internal and external data in new ways. This can help food retailers better satisfy the mandate from consumers to understand and anticipate needs in real time, delivering both a world class physical and digital experience. This is perhaps the first step in the AI journey and represents the chance to develop a competitive, data-driven advantage. It’s an exciting time as AI has globally moved from science fiction to measurable impact and ROI. According to r4 Technologies, “The job of artificial intelligence is to continuously sense what people want and deliver value, faster and faster, by tapping into the wealth of information trapped inside legacy systems.” Forgoing fear, uncertainty and doubt, AI is already being used by many retailers and manufacturers to drive merchandising, marketing, supply chain, ecommerce, loyalty and more, delivering real profit and growth within existing and new outlets. Still, food retailers have important questions about AI, including: What are the solid AI use cases that have a direct and measurable return on investment? How can retail companies using AI stay ahead of competitors? What innovations are being pioneered as potential retail game-changers? Which AI applications have a direct, hardline return on investment? FMI hopes to be a resource for you as you ask your questions and explore your business options. Retail technology and the consumer experience are certainly at a pivotal time and we all need to evaluate the options and look around the corner to prepare. FMI will be exploring these questions and more during the Midwinter Executive Conference where r4 Technologies, an AI innovator and Enterprise AI Platform, will lead an Executive Roundtable discussion on Sunday afternoon, January 28th on the opportunities with AI with real world cases from both food retail and applications we can translate from other industries. We encourage you to take this quick 1-minute AI survey in advance to help inform the session. In addition, FMI is hosting Grocerytalk at Shoptalk in March with AI sessions and exhibitors. Also we have a webinar planned for March on applications of Artificial Intelligence Check the schedule for more details, www.FMI.org/Webinars.