Almost half of attendees at the annual Checkout Conference 2018, in association with dunnhumby, feel that SuperValu is best responding to the growing health awareness trend.
Delegates at this year’s annual conference were asked: “Health awareness is continuing to grow among consumers, and retailers are responding. Which of the major supermarkets do you believe is responding best to this growing trend?” Supervalu came out on top with 46.9%, far ahead of Tesco (14.2%), Dunnes Stores (12.4%), Aldi (11.5%) and Lidl (8.0%).
The Checkout Conference heard from a panel of Irish and international retail experts who outlined challenges and opportunities in the retail industry over the coming decade.
These included Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD, Robbie Clarke, Director, Empathy Research, Patrick Munden, Global Head of Retail and Marketing, Salmon, Kevin McCarthy, Managing Director, Garvey Group, David Ciancio, Senior Customer Strategist, dunnhumby, Wijnand Jognen, futurist on retail and author of The End of Online Shopping, Clive Black, Head of Research at Shore Capital, Steve Wynne-Jones, Editor, ESM: European Supermarket Magazine, and Loe Limpens, Managing Partner, Yellow Dress Retail.
The rise of online shopping and technological innovation was high on the agenda of several of the presentations, especially with regards to Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods Market, which sent shockwaves through the industry last year. Patrick Munden said that 50% of shoppers say they are digitally curious, while 15% said they are digitally obsessed. “Amazon are coming to take your market,” said Munden.
However, several speakers said that the online and bricks and mortar stores will converge to form one experience. “We are entering a world of ‘onlife’ retail,” said Wijnand Jongen. “New generations of consumers do not distinguish between online and offline – for the first time in retail, it’s not technology that is driving retail, it’s the consumer behaviour.”
Several speakers pointed out that the Irish market was still relatively underrepresented in the online grocery world but that this was likely to change soon. Shore Capital’s Clive Black said: “If I was Amazon, I would definitely look at Dublin in terms of online potential. However, taxation, driven by regulation in Brussels, London and Washington, is going to be a big controller of online groups going forward.”
At the Leader’s Panel Kevin Donnelly, Managing Director, Britvic Ireland, Nick Johnson, Managing Director, Unilever Ireland, and David Adams, Head of Sales, The Kraft Heinz Company, discussed the future challenges. “Packaging and packaging innovation is going to be the next big thing,” said Donnelly, adding that there will be a focus on sustainability in the sector. “With packaging and waste, there’s a lot more we need to do, which is an opportunity for legislation if we don’t get our own house in order,” said Nick Johnson. “We need to make sure that we are clear on what is the new innovation, what is the action plan, because there are a lot of opportunities that we really do need to leverage.”
He also said that retail tends to play it too safe and doesn’t ‘disrupt’ enough. “Steve Jobs said ‘why join the navy when you can be a pirate’. We should be much more irreverent towards our consumers. We should look to be rule breakers not rule makers, but in a good way.”
David Adams said he was impressed by the community spirit in Irish retail, as evidenced by the conference. Highlighting the growing convergence of the retail, food to go and foodservice sectors, he said that health would be a key pillar of The Kraft Heinz Company’s business strategy over the next few years.