The supermarket industry is constantly changing. Consumer food choices and how they shop, frequent regulation modifications and new technologies to integrate are just a few things we gathered from recent customer input concerning the most pressing issues for the industry. As 2017 rolls along, there are four emerging trends we see that grocery marketers should be aware of for the remainder of the year.

1. Impact of the digitally engaged food shopper on retail facilities

Convenience continues to be a focus for store format changes. Digitally engaged food shoppers are continually seeking fresh items, quick access and new experiences. To keep up with this demand, retailers are competing with new shopping types and competition — online, click and collect and the latest innovations in store layouts and formats.

To meet these challenges, retailers will need to expand flexibility and create new features in existing facilities while continuing to integrate information technologies and data into these new areas of their business. This will result in the eventual linking of the cold chain to the supply side of retail, just as digital engagement is changing the consumer side.

Eater-tainment in grocery stores has turned the corner store into a destination. When visiting a brick-and-mortar store, today’s consumers expect to be entertained and want customized shopping experiences. This concept does create increased in-store engagement for millennial shoppers, but flexible facilities are needed as shopping types change, new styles are introduced and consumer needs continue to evolve. Updated and scalable equipment and technology are needed to support these advancements.

2. Need for transparency in food safety

A variety of healthy, fresh food options are accessible from most grocers, as many food retailers have adapted their facilities to meet this consumer demand. Supermarkets are offering prepared food options in addition to onsite food preparation stations as store concepts converge to keep up with this trend. Delivering the fresh food that consumers want while keeping the food safe, reliable and profitable is also a concern.

In order to consistently deliver in this area and maintain food safety as well as control shrinkage, food retailers are depending on facility data to increase visibility and control of the store equipment that maintains product freshness….