International Food and Drink Event – 24th March 2015, Excel Centre, London

Posted by Alex Beeden Event Planning
2 4 2015

In a world where everything is increasingly about the internet and online shopping, the figures behind grocery shopping tell a slightly surprising story. While listening to a presentation from the IGD on ‘Retailing in a multichannel world’ at the IFE, the following stats surprised me. While the number of people regularly ordering their groceries online is growing, that number is still less than 5%. The number of people saying they only do their food shop online is only 0.5%.

All recent growth of retail shopping has come from the three “hot channels” within the sector: discount stores such as Aldi and Lidl, convenience stores and online shopping. By 2019 the IGD predict that 43% of all shopping will be done via these three channels.

The reality of life in 2015 is that consumers want the best prices at the most convenient times and places for their busy lives. Hence the rise of my favourite term of the day: the “Discountvenience store”. Research shows that people plan to shop around more and more in the future to get the best deals. They check their Aldi app for that week’s flash deals while walking around Sainsbury’s, planning to make a second stop on their way home. Personally I find I have no reception in either of the two Sainsbury’s stores closest to me, and have often wondered if that’s deliberate to stop people doing just that!

The latest figures on the economy show that shoppers do have more money to spend, but that 16% are looking for ways to reduce their spending. People therefore want to shop more at the discounters, but it depends on locality and range of products, as shoppers are also time-poor. Both Lidl and Aldi have very aggressive store opening strategies, opening on more high streets and in more locations (Aldi plan to open 70 new stores in 2015). They’ve also been expanding the range of products available, and improving their credibility. Lidl’s new “executive consultant chef” is Kevin Love, former head chef at Heston Blumenthal's The Hinds Head in Bray. Definitely an appointment that shows Lidl’s intent in the marketplace.

I came away from the presentation more aware than ever that the march of the discount stores continues, and the traditional supermarkets would do well to watch their backs!

My other highlight of the event was watching Executive Pastry Chef of Marcus Wareing Restaurants, Simon Jenkins putting the finishing touches to making a chocolate and nuts dessert he showcased. The smell of melting chocolate was too much to just walk on by!

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