During a recent trip to Singapore, Ms Joanne Denney-Finch OBE, Chief Executive, Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD
), sat down with Food Industry Asia (FIA) to share her thoughts about upcoming trends in the global grocery retail space.
A key driving force for change in this sector, Ms Denney-Finch said, is evolving consumer behaviour. This will change the way in which businesses will, and must, define competition moving forward. Consumer decisions include choosing between shopping online and in a physical store, as well as between cooking at home and eating out.
Furthermore, businesses need to practise transparency, Ms Denney-Finch said. “It is much better for companies to be open, honest and transparent, even when they get things wrong – rather than to be found out,” she added, highlighting the power of social media and the constant availability of a wide range of information. She said, “It's a bit about the industry being master of its own destiny, taking the strategic high ground, being transparent… it's a very new attitude.”
In terms of artificial intelligence and technological development, she noted the ways in which manufacturers and retailers are increasingly using machines and robots to complete tasks and engage with consumers.
Additionally, Ms Denney-Finch shared about IGD’s work and objectives, touching on the value of partnerships to bring about greater scale and impact. “[IGD] is a forum where people can come together in a pre-competitive space in order to engage in industry-wide initiatives,” she said. “So we have a big role to play in bringing the industry together in areas such as nutrition, sustainability and also issues surrounding employment.”