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onsumers are a powerful influence on the food supply chain. Their desire for a wide array of fresh, healthy foods year round—combined with easier and convenient shopping options, including online grocery ordering and home delivery—are reshaping where food is sourced, how it is grown and/or manufactured, and ultimately how and where food is purchased from retailers. Moreover, these consumer-driven demands have implications for the logistics providers and others that support the food supply chain with respect to handling (especially perishable foods), transportation, food safety and last-mile delivery. Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus, a leading

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provider in digital solutions for grocery, describes the current state of disruption underway in the online grocery sector as a kind of “hyper-Uberization.” Consumers are demanding more efficiency, real-time response and transparency in the process, and it’s having a big impact on grocers, CPGs, farmers and suppliers, he says. “Not only do consumers want home delivery, but they still want the ability to shop for groceries in the store, or pickup inside the store or curbside,” he adds. Meanwhile, the desire for more fresh foods and the rising popularity of meal kits are adding to the pressure on grocers and logistics providers. At the same time, the profile of today’s online grocery shopper may be surprising, according to surveys conducted by Mercatus (Insights Into Grocery eCommerce 2016). For example, in a survey of more than 1,000 female shoppers who made online purchases, 69 percent are between the ages of 40 and 60 years old, or 60 and above. Surprisingly, there’s also an equal distribution of those who want home delivery and those who want to pickup their groceries in the store, says Perrier, “and of those that want delivery, 46 percent want it the same day.” The shoppers in this age range tend to fall into three different groups, he says. One is made up of people with fixed incomes who like to shop online, so long as it’s easy, because it helps them stay within their budget. They also prefer to walk into the store to pickup their grocery order for exercise and socialization. The second group is made up of those who have a younger family member buying groceries online for them, and the family member is typically doing it remotely. The third group is typically nurses and others who work in an assisted

living community, who are making online grocery orders for the elderly residents in the facility. Online grocery shopping in rural areas is also growing faster than in urban areas, in part because younger shoppers in urban areas tend to buy groceries and carry them home. The company’s research revealed other noteworthy trends. Perrier says people are willing to pay a premium to get what they want. “We found that 50 percent of the consumers we surveyed were willing to pay up to $10 for the convenience of home grocery delivery, and close to 20 percent were willing to pay up to $25 dollars or more to have groceries delivered the same day,” he says. And, these aren’t just consumers living in New York or California, he adds, but Middle America. They are also not in high-income brackets, “but people making $65,000 to $84,000 a year.”

70% OF THOSE SURVEYED BY MERCATUS

SHOP AT THEIR FAVORITE GROCERY STORE ONCE PER WEEK OR MORE, WHILE ALMOST ALL

89%

REPORTED SHOPPING AT THEIR FAVORITE STORE AT LEAST ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS

JULY 2018 | FOOD LOGISTICS

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Food Logistics July 2018  

Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food and beverage supply...

Food Logistics July 2018  

Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food and beverage supply...