Author Archives: Steven Duffy

FMI Midwinter Conference – 9 Things We Learned

Grocery executives once again convened to share their common goals and advocacy issues and consider the year ahead at the 2023 FMI – The Food Industry Association Midwinter Executive Conference. Here are nine highlights that stood out from the three-day event.

Doug Baker of FMI kicked off the education agenda for two days of “FMItech talks” by assembling a cross-section of tech-centric grocers and the entrepreneur’s driving innovation. The question posed after reflecting upon the closing keynote presentation titled, The Never Normal by Peter Hinssen, are the innovation efforts that grocers pursue today sufficient to keep them from falling victim to becoming either a dinosaur or a phoenix?

The FMItech Pitch Competition 

This brought forth six finalists – One that piqued our interest was Amoobi’s Chief Executive Officer, Olivier Delangre. This firm has developed a space optimization platform for in-store merchandising and planning. The platform provides many applications to evaluate and analyze customer behaviors, consider merchandising planning, and drive traffic and sales. The applications are data-driven and leverage store-mounted sensors to track customer behaviors.

FMItech Talk – A Fresh Approach to Driving True Digital Transformation

Suzanne Long, Chief Sustainability and Transformation Officer, Albertsons, and Matt Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer, Afresh considered different aspects surrounding fresh products, sustainably, and reducing food waste shrink to enhance consumer experience and grocers’ profitability. Fresh shrink has a considerable impact on store profitability. This application platform can track the flow of a product’s lifecycle through the supply chain. For example, an extra day or two extending a perishable product’s life significantly impacts consumption vs. entering the waste stream. Albertsons has targeted this as a priority.

FMItech Talks – Looking Backward While Moving Forward: Technology Practitioner Panel

This event addressed recent FMI technology research presented by Steve Markenson. The panel consisted of Kirk Ball, Executive Vice President, and Chief Information Officer, Giant Eagle; Charles McWeeney, Vice President of Technology, Innovation, and Strategy, Wakefern and Annette Franke, Vice President of Information Technology, Gorilla Glue. Discussions include how 70-80 percent of grocers are experimenting with improving efficiencies, consumer experience, and e-commerce tools, and now 60 percent with self-checkout. Also, how does automation improve the associate and consumer experience? All panelists agreed that labor is the single biggest challenge. When implementing technology, the value must be shown along its journey. Microfulfillment is considered an option in the tool chest as grocers grapple with the increasing demands of delivering upon customer need states.

Grocery Resiliency During Recession – Deborah Weinswig, Coresight Research

Deborah Weinswig delivered helpful research and a hopeful outlook for 2023, despite the most challenging headwinds experienced in decades. Coresight Research reviewed what worked in the last two recessions and the recessionary behaviors of consumers and retailers. Weinswig shared six actions for retailers to take now. Check out Coresight Research to review the extensive research they make publicly available.

Where Food and Technology Meet – Laurie Demeritt, Chief Executive Officer, The Hartman Group

This session was geared toward food geeks. And who does not love to learn more about what we eat and how it’s sourced? The Hartman Group delivered great insights into the industry and FMI. Laurie Demeritt shared some valuable data segmenting the 11 categories defining the future of food production. The higher degree of food innovation/reinvention and manipulation aligns with consumer skepticism. We recommend that you follow The Hartman Group research.

To read the rest of the recap, please go here.

Checkout Challenge: Shrink Reduction With No Customer Impact | FutureShop

Checkout Challenge: Shrink Reduction With No Customer Impact

An array of innovative security solutions is paving the way for reducing the incredible shrinking grocery story in a way that has its finger on the pulse of current and future trends, making grocers and retailers alike happy. When considering these security measures, we must do so holistically, with the store design in mind, realizing that it is a cost, a burden, and can cause friction on the shopping experience, but also poses a way out and a way forward.

Shrink reduction in grocery and retail stores has usually been influenced by consumers, and a myriad of factors, among them product type, inventory count, store location and other factors. While loss prevention strategies have helped in the past, the current widely held view is that they’re trending negatively, especially when you factor in frictionless shopping and checkout.

Frictionless checkout, another alternative to store-based surveillance, is the ultimate surveillance state without feeling like cameras are watching your every move. If you’ve visited an Amazon Go store (and others), you have seen this in place, including their “just walk out” technology which is exactly as it sounds. You shop, scan your own items, pay with an app and away you go. But this also comes with risk and that can lead to negative variables like skewed inventory count, theft and more.

Next, factor in facial recognition, which has made significant advancements worldwide, thanks to artificial intelligence and camera networks, but with this innovation comes consumer concerns regarding privacy and what data is being shared through a facial scan.

Steven Duffy, our senior vice president of design, offers four things grocers can do to address the incredible shrinking store.