Food shopping in 2028 – K Group’s 5 visions for the food store of the future

24 hour pick-up of groceries bought online, restaurant-quality food and nutritional advice, inspiring shopping trips tailored to the individual needs of each customer. These were some of the visions that emerged in a multi-phase survey of over 60 grocery trade experts regarding the food store of the future. The visions combine the best features of both physical and online grocery stores.

”People will not come to a store to wander around the aisles. All technological solutions that can help people in deciding what to buy and make shopping faster will be utilised, leaving room for the customers to get inspired,” Ari Akseli, President of K Group’s grocery trade division, sums up the survey results.

“People’s personal goals, hopes and values will increasingly influence their shopping decisions. We must become even better at providing opportunities and targeted content for making individual choices,” says Heidi Jungar, Customer Insight Director for K Group’s grocery trade.

Over 60 K Group experts, K-retailers and members of store staff took part in envisioning the food store of the future and honing the ideas in a multi-phase process. The visions were also used to create a virtual representation of the food store of the future.

In K Group’s visions, food stores offer inspiration and act as community hubs
1.    Food stores will be divided into two distinctly different areas. Fresh foods sections will resemble a marketplace and become even more inspiring. Online sales will be an integral part of food stores. Customers will not need to spend time searching for basic items: they can make all their purchases online or complement their online shopping with items at the store. Items bought online can be collected from the store’s pick-up window at all hours. People will come to food stores to spend time in a pleasant atmosphere. The stores will offer new types of services, such as car maintenance or nutritional advice, and thus make everyday life easier for their customers. You can order a virtual chef for your home or take part in regular cooking classes at the store. The store will have an increasingly important role in creating a sense of community in its area.

2.    The line between a store and a restaurant will become blurred. Stores will offer ready or pre-prepped restaurant-quality food and increasingly utilise food sector professionals, such as cooks and other experts. There will be more options in ready meals, offering better nutritional value. Take away food consumed on the go will become increasingly important.

3.    Artisanal products will continue to be valued. Appreciation for premium products and products by local and small producers will continue to grow. Stores will increasingly convey the stories of food producers from near and far, as customers are interested in the people behind the products.

4.    Customers will make increasingly individual choices based on their personal hopes, goals and values. In the future, stores will enable and support individual customer choices even more. Customers may base their consumption choices on criteria such as sustainability, carbon neutrality, nutritional value, organic or local origin, suitability for special diets, or a pre-determined budget, for example. The store will know each customer’s values and offer products and advice accordingly. People will use food to promote their overall wellbeing. Digital solutions will enable a tailored, faster shopping experience, where time is not spent searching for items or waiting at the checkout.

5.    Sustainability will be an increasingly prominent aspect. People will be increasingly aware of and better able to address the sustainability aspects of their choices, and will live their values through what they choose to consume. Climate change and the scarcity of resources will affect all store operations. Store premises will be zero-energy buildings and the stores will utilise energy they produce themselves.  

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