Sadie Keljikian, Stern Corporate Services Group
Food wholesalers and retailers alike are struggling to keep up with the rapidly accelerating ecommerce revolution.
Although online retail is a steadily growing industry, particularly in food products, current demand in the US and India is vastly outweighing capacity. Worldwide, experts blame the consumer shift on the rise of the millennial generation. Whatever the case, experts are surprised by the rate at which the industry is shifting.
US-based companies like Mondelez International (parent company of Cadbury, Oreo, Ritz and other big snack brands) and Kraft Heinz are funneling resources into developing new and improved methods of selling their products online and delivering them efficiently. Temperature control in transit, adequate stock/organization of high-demand goods and changing shopping patterns among online consumers are challenging these companies as they try to adjust to the sharply increasing public desire to purchase a wide variety of goods online.
India is seeing similar changes in shopping patterns, so much so that Indian-owned Flipkart has announced a service called Supermart, a devoted ecommerce service for food items and household goods. The announcement comes just shy of two years after Amazon India began selling grocery items.
The race to develop efficient, sustainable methods of buying and selling groceries online is heating up. As it currently stands, 23% of Americans purchase groceries online, but that number is expected to triple in less than a decade. Executives at Mondelez and Kraft Heinz, among others, admit that the entire industry is currently playing catch-up. Mondelez recently invested in ecommerce, building partnerships with Amazon and Alibaba, as well as several brick and mortar retailers in an attempt to build a secure position across the board.
These developments indicate a wide-spread trend long suspected by several authorities in the industry: consumers are starting to buy all goods, regardless of frequency and value, online. Amazon is covering their bases either way with their new stores in several cities across the US, but experts say that companies who don’t revolutionize their online offerings will soon be left behind.