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Europe: Grocery shopping are getting smarter, finds survey

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About 39% of consumers think that supermarkets in particular will confront them with digital innovations such as automatic scanning and payment of groceries, finds TÜV SÜD‘s current consumer survey on future grocery shopping.

Here are the findings:

– 32% of respondents consider it possible that the Internet will also offer realistic marketing opportunities for butchers, farmers and other food producers,

– 26% of respondents believe that people will buy their groceries online from their computers at home in the future,

– Almost 20% of the people surveyed are convinced that the Internet of Things (IoT) will make domestic fridges smarter; this one-fifth of consumers regard self-stocking groceries and IoT-connected refrigerators as feasible scenarios of the future, and

– 10% of respondents consider online shopping while travelling (at train stations and airports) and online services by local neighborhood grocery stores realistic.

The survey shows that many consumers are aware of the changes in grocery shopping and are already using the new opportunities today.

However, technical innovations benefit not only them but all other consumers too, given that digital data exchange has been part of food production, processing and logistics for some time now.

Some of the modern technical possibilities are already available today.

Food packaging, for example, uses codes to store data on origin, production and delivery.

Using a smartphone, fish packaging can provide retailers and consumers with information about the origin of the fish and whether the cold chain has been broken during transport.

Chips on fruit crates deliver reliable information such as the name of the fruit producer as well as details on transport, freshness and origin for retailers.

Smart shelves in supermarkets automatically request restocking or indicate which food products need to be cleared out – for example, because the best-before date has expired.

It will be up to customers to decide whether these innovations will catch on or ultimately remain short-term or isolated gimmicks.

Even though digital innovations are sweeping the food industry from production to trade, not all consumers are actually convinced by the prospect of shopping in the world of the Internet.

About 47% of respondents expect that there will still be no changes in their shopping for groceries in the future, and consumer psychologists predict that visual, olfactory and emotional stimuli will continue to play a major role in food shopping in future.