But exciting new opportunities are emerging as well. The food retail industry has taken a more prominent position in both national and global debates, for the first time at the White House conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in September and at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 in November.
Against this backdrop, 2023 will be a very important year for the industry. Grocers and retailers are looking to not only survive, but thrive in this rapidly changing landscape. From leveraging new data and technology to prioritizing environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) accountability, below are his four predictions for the future beyond 2023.
1. Retailers invest in more actionable data and visibility on fresh produce.
Retailers across the country recognize that leveraging data and analytics is key to reducing food waste throughout the supply chain. Next year, retailers will invest in more real-time tracking data, especially for products such as fruits, vegetables and dairy, when it comes to real-time freshness monitoring.
Data-driven insights enable retailers to monitor variations in time, temperature and handling throughout the food journey (some of the leading causes of food spoilage) in order to develop best practices to maintain food quality. ) can be better understood.
This level of tracking and insight will increase investment in technology not only at the level of individual boxes and containers, but also focused on detailed actions along the supply chain, from farm to shelf.
Investing in more granular and actionable insights will give retailers a holistic view of what’s happening within their retail environment, including the full range of what they’re not selling. These insights can be easily woven into existing business models to minimize food waste.
2. Accelerating adoption of reverse logistics to become the backbone of food waste diversion and prevention.
One of the main ways to reduce food waste is to keep food out of landfills and incinerators in the first place. However, that requires an efficient diversion infrastructure, which has so far been inadequate in the United States.
Over the last few years, more and more retailers are laying the groundwork for transformation, especially in the form of reverse logistics. At a high level, reverse logistics is a simple self-managing program that leverages existing infrastructure and ordering practices to more efficiently manage food that cannot be sold or donated.
The benefits of reverse logistics technology are enormous: reducing a retailer’s carbon footprint, allowing retailers to self-manage their stores across geographies with a single solution, and distributing unsold food to local food banks and processors. This includes diversion to facilities to prevent. Keeps it out of landfills.
Retailers such as Ahold Delhaize and CVS have incorporated this diversion and prevention approach into their business models. In the coming year, most of the retail food industry will accelerate the adoption of reverse logistics, especially considering sustainability and its importance. Achievement of ESG targets.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents huge opportunities, but food retailers will find it imperative to build and enhance their data infrastructure first.
AI is reshaping every industry, including food retail. Food retailers that successfully build and deploy AI are poised to reap significant benefits, from better understanding of current and future conditions to optimized pricing and streamlined operations.
That said, we are only at the forefront of the widespread use of AI. This is due to the need for larger and more balanced data sets for training machine learning and AI algorithms. Food retailers will invest more in building and scaling their data infrastructure to fill this gap. To do this, food retailers will increasingly hire specialized technical talent and drive cross-functional collaboration between teams to build and leverage a clear data strategy. .
In addition, we also see food retailers investing in new technologies that not only complement their existing AI initiatives but also enhance them over time. Technologies that ensure food freshness or provide new insights into the efficiency of the supply chain provide food retailers with a significant competitive advantage. Over time, these new technologies, and most importantly the data and insights they generate, will gradually be incorporated into retailers’ AI initiatives.
Four. Food retailers work beyond the EPA Food Takeback Hierarchy Pyramid to meet ESG goals.
Today’s consumers expect brands to be deeply committed to sustainability and the environment. That pressure is especially felt across the retail food industry and the wider food supply his chain.
As one of the industries with Largest carbon footprint, the food retailer is doubling down on its sustainability initiatives, focusing on environmental, social and corporate governance. This trend he will only accelerate in 2023.many retailers EPA Food Takeback Hierarchical Pyramid – Comprehensive approach to waste management including source reduction, recycling, combustion and landfill –We will enable them to look beyond and have a greater impact on their environment and communities.
One additional metric that food retailers employ to further meet their ESG goals is carbon intensity. In the coming year, more food retailers will invest in technology and analytics to enable efficient carbon accounting across their supply chains, and carbon intensity metrics to drive processes to reduce food waste and emissions. use.
Tipping point in 2023
Since the pandemic began, the retail food industry has faced major disruption, causing widespread transformation across the industry. However, 2023 will be a tipping point that will drive the adoption of new innovations, technologies and infrastructures, and ultimately the exciting changes that will shape the future of the industry.