Grocers will have to meet the needs of many different types of shoppers, from in-store browsers to online delivery customers, Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen told attendees at a conference this week. "[W]hat we're trying to do is to make sure that it's a completely seamless experience for the customer, regardless of where they go," he said.
Australian supermarket chain Coles may adopt scanner technology to reduce theft at its self-serve checkouts, sources said. The technology would be better able to identify specific fruits and vegetables, making it harder to pass off more expensive produce as lower-priced food.
FMI will end its annual FMI Connect show starting in 2017 and work to create an event that better serves members' changing business needs, President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said Wednesday. The group expects to debut the new format in 2018 and FMI will also move forward with its Future Leaders program next year, Sarasin said.
Talking vegetables and offshore bubble farms were among the technological advances Produce Marketing Association CEO Bryan Silbermann discussed at a gathering of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association this week. Hidden speakers can give information on each vegetable as they are touched, experiments growing food in plastic undersea bubbles are underway, and misshapen produce is getting a positive reputation, he said.
Asheville, N.C.-based organic grocer Earth Fare has opened its fourth Florida store and first in the Tampa Bay area. The 24,000-square-foot store sells only "free-from" products but customers will find all of the groceries on their shopping lists, said CEO Frank Scorpiniti.
Millennials have high expectations when it comes to fresh foods and customizing their choices at restaurants and retail food stores, according to Packaged Facts. About one-third of millennials choose something different on each visit, so eateries can attract them with menu options that can be combined in many different ways, the report said.
Amazon has not been able to dominate grocery sales with the same speed it conquered other online retail segments. The company commands a less than one percent share of the US grocery market, according to data from Cowen and Company, and rivals including FreshDirect and Instacart are attracting investors who expect that more US grocery shopping will move online as it has in the UK.
Erin Dix, fine-wine manager at Major Brands in St. Louis, Mo., says a good wholesaler needs much of the same knowledge as a sommelier in order to talk to retailers about wine. Part of that, she says, is knowing a wine's story and history so that the retailer can help customers understand what they are buying.
Growing interest in canned wine and in a wider variety of sparkling wines are two of the trends in the wine business this fall, according to Devon Broglie, a master sommelier and the wine buyer for Whole Foods Market. Other trends Broglie highlights: chilling red wines to bring out the flavors, and customers who are fearless about trying new things thanks to the ready information of the internet.
Scotch whisky has received trademark protection in Taiwan, allowing the industry to go after makers of counterfeit products. Taiwan is the world's fourth-largest market for scotch, and this protection could boost imports further, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.
- Page 1