The food and wine market is constantly on the move, and the annual CB Insight report provides indications on what the big brands are doing.
The usual four-sector chart indicates the movements and evolutions of the most promising areas. You can read the complete CB Insight report at this link; in this post I will consider only some of these trends:
- GDO produces its own brands
- Voice commerce
- Amazon distributes Direct To Consumer (DTC)
- Alternative sales points
- Warehouse Robot
- Packs connected with the IoT
- Packaging optimized for online sales
Let’s briefly analyze some features of three Food and Wine digital trends.
Voice assistants for food and wine market
I have already written about the use of voice assistants, especially in the search for wine, a restaurant or a wine cellar. When giants like Amazon or Google start to enter the field, the game becomes more complex. In 2018 only 2% of Alexa owners made at least one purchase using the voice assistant, and we’re talking about a million people anyway.
To increase the trend, Amazon is incentivising companies for canned goods, such as Kellog’s, Coca-Cola, General Mills, with special contracts to use its voice assistant. Even Alibaba is implementing the same policy, in a year the trade via vocal assistant has increased considerably.
The risk for CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) is to entrust the data of its customers to Amazon, Alibaba and Google, and when they begin to produce consumer goods with their own brands, a complicated game will begin for them. The food and wine market could move towards the big players.
Blockchain to manage the supply chain
The most discussed algorithm is becoming the focus of supply chain management. The Food & Beverage big companies have the capacity, above all financial, to implement this technology; on the other hand, smaller producers can make use of the Big Tech that sees an expanding market in this sector.
Companies like Wallmart, Nestlé, Unilever have signed an agreement with IBM to implement the Blockchain in their supply chain. One of the most compelling arguments for the use of BC is the control of the safety and health of the food being transported. Much of this, of course, is pure and simple marketing, at least until the chain controls all aspects of production.
China is also investing in blockchain, where Alibaba is working with PwC to track its products. One of the biggest customers is New Zealand, with the cheese giant Fonterra.
Packaging and IoT
Another of Food and Wine digital trends is about packaging. Equipping an RFID device with a milk carton or a bulk wine carton is not just used to trace the package. It can collect consumer data, and above all send a request, perhaps using a voice assistant, when the content is close to its end.
In this way, consumers are no longer asked to talk about products on social media channels, because the purchase and consumption data will be sent directly from the box of oatmeal that we have in the pantry. The alcoholic giant Pernod Ricard is already starting to track where and when its products are consumed, directly asking for their own bottles.
Here the risk, in addition to the obvious one for privacy, is that customers no longer need to visit offline stores, and perhaps not even the manufacturer’s website. In practice, even in the food and wine market those who manage the data will be the real master.