By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations, FMI

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According to the 2020 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way consumers shop for groceries and their expectations from food retailers and suppliers. We particularly see this in the demand for technology solutions to aid in new pressures we’re seeing from consumers related to COVID-19. From the rise in demand for online grocery shopping options to better supply chain data needs, it’s time for the food industry to re-evaluate our technology needs and consider some new opportunities.

“The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated innovation across the food industry while sending it in new directions,” shared Gary Hawkins, CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology, LLC (CART) “Now is the time for the food industry to step back, assess existing capabilities to identify gaps and opportunities, and then explore new technologies as part of a robust process to drive into the future.”

With that in mind, FMI has teamed up with CART and Hawkins on a white paper that looks at timely technology opportunities around for the food industry. It’s Time for A COVID-19 Technology Checkup identifies technology areas of focus for needed capabilities as the industry emerges into a post-pandemic world.

Let’s take contactless shopping as an example. The days of handing a customer a physical receipt without wearing gloves are a thing of the past. During the height of the pandemic, retailers learned to make real-time changes to reduce the amount of human-to-human contact in grocery shopping, particularly at check out. Initial efforts including clear partitions between the cashier and shopper and updates to POS transactions to eliminate touch payments are a good first step. Future technology advancements including frictionless shopping and smart carts hold the key to further reducing hand-to-hand interactions. But there are additional things to consider, like ID checks on sales of alcohol and tobacco products and prescription confirmations.

It’s an evolving world and our industry is essential to the future. We must revisit technology options that support shoppers’ needs and help improve efficiencies in our supply chain. I hope you’ll utilize this new resource as you consider options and adjust for the future.

Download It’s Time for A COVID-19 Technology Checkup

Photo courtesy of SpartanNash