Food firms told to work with smart tech or lose out

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food manufacturers told to work with smart technologies

Related tags: Meat, Supermarket, 2 sisters food group

Food and drink manufacturers have been urged to work with smart technologies or risk losing out to competitors that do harness the benefits of such partnerships.

New trends in “invisible shopping”​ – where technology is used to automatically replace groceries –highlighted the benefit of high tech strategic partnerships, said The Future Foundation boss Christophe Jouan.

“Food and drink manufacturers will have to work with these smart technologies or they risk being left behind,”​ Jouan told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

‘Risk being left behind’

“It also creates a very difficult environment for new brands or products to enter, as consumers will simply not be actively involved with the purchase of these items, instead preferring the convenience of self-stocking cupboards.”

In order to benefit from the trend manufacturers should forge partnerships with new suppliers that are delivering direct to consumers.

“Many of these services – such as Hello Fresh – advertise that they work directly with manufacturers to cut supply chains and ensure faster, fresher delivery to customers,”​ said Jouan.

Hello Fresh and 2 Sisters Food Group recently revealed a partnership to deliver​ chicken dishes nationwide produced by the manufacturer.

2 Sisters Food Group

Six food trends of 2025

1. Indulgence remained

2. Food is fuel and fun

3. Convenience here to stay

4. New protein – ‘flexitarians’

5. Offsetting becomes mainstream

Jouan commented: “Hello Fresh is certainly an example of disruption to the food industry. But it is not quite invisible commerce, as the consumer is still actively involved with the choice and purchase of their recipe box.”

 But the deal between 2 Sisters and Hello Fresh was an example of faster, more convenience food shopping for the consumer, he said.

“We don't expect supermarkets to die,”​ said Jouan. “Instead we can expect supermarket delivery mechanisms to become a lot more sophisticated and convenient as they compete with the food delivery services to offer the same level of fresh, healthy convenience food options.”

Finding alternatives to meat protein will also challenge food manufacturers, warned The Future Food Foundation boss.

“The sustainability of meat production will become a rising issue and new protein forms, from plant-based proteins which mimic the taste and texture of meat, to fast-growing algae will all be fast-growing areas of innovation.

Joan gave the 2016 City Food Lecture in London last month, when he identified six key top trends​ that would shape the food and drink manufacturing sector in the years up to 2025. (See box).

Meanwhile, don’t miss the Food Manufacture Group’s one-day innovation conference New frontiers in food and drink– ​at etc. venues, St Pauls, London on Thursday, March 17.

What is ‘invisible shopping’?

“Invisible Shopping is a term we use to describe a future retail behaviour where certain basic household items will simply replenish themselves. Services such as Amazon Dash Replenishment link your Amazon account to smart appliances in your home  -  the appliance monitor levels of product and repurchases when levels get low. Traditional grocery retailers are set to be disrupted by the arrival of tech-enabled retailers like Amazon into this sector. This is not going to happen for all food shopping as many will still enjoy the process of choosing what they want to eat but we can see this taking over basic essentials and household products such as cooking oils, milk, bread and cleaning products.”

  • The Future Foundation

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