By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations, FMI
The grocery technology sector is undergoing a profound transformation like nothing I've seen in my lengthy career within the food retail industry. I've observed technology's remarkable and exponential evolution, swiftly becoming a pivotal link that is strengthening the industry's customer connections.
FMI recognizes the rapid pace of this technological revolution. It stands at the core of FMI's Imperative Issues, poised to redefine the food industry's landscape.
Since 2019, most food retailers have been experimenting with new technologies to improve customer experience and efficiency, relieve margin pressures, shore up labor limitations and to improve ecommerce capabilities. Eighty-five percent of retailers reported continuing to experiment with multiple, new technologies to improve the customer experience. Additionally, one-quarter of retailers and more than a third of suppliers are using artificial intelligence to leverage customer data – tracking trends to anticipate customers' needs and improve sales and loyalty. According to our analysis in The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2023, food suppliers spent almost twice as much on technology as food retailers as a percentage of sales – 2.4% vs. 1.3% – and suppliers are somewhat more optimistic about the impact these investments are having on their bottom lines.
To encourage this technology evolution, we are hosting our third FMItech Pitch Competition at the FMI Midwinter Conference. The six standout startups from last year's event are at the forefront of this transformation. Amoobi, Hyer, Huloop Automation, OjaExpress, Sifter, and Verneek are changing the way we shop for groceries, enhancing customer engagement and tackling food waste. From improving hiring processes to enriching the shopping experience and promoting healthy eating, these companies are making a significant impact with their groundbreaking applications Consumers will reap the benefit with a more convenient and personalized grocery shopping journey.
A new set of startups have the chance to showcase their innovations at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference, where they will compete for the prestigious 2024 FMItech startup pitch winner spot. The grocery industry invests heavily in technology to enhance capabilities, operations, and consumer experiences. Our pitch competition helps identify solutions and potential investments that bring efficiency and improved experiences to consumers.
If you are an early-stage startup with less than $5 million in funding, seize this opportunity to apply online with your captivating pitch video by October 9, 2023.
Your innovation could be the game-changer that shapes the future of the grocery technology industry.