Guest Column | March 10, 2017

Why Supply Chain Agility Is Essential For Food Manufacturing

By Angela Fernandez, GS1 U.S.

For years, the food industry has listened to predictions about the growth of online grocery shopping, but was hesitant to prepare for the unknown. Now, through technology and innovative delivery models, such as click-and-collect, the industry is more capable of responding to consumers’ growing set of complex needs, and e-commerce growth in the food industry is more realistic and achievable than ever before.

Growth in this space is predicted to happen fast, too. Shoppers in the U.S. who bought groceries online in 2016 more than doubled to 19 percent, up from 8 percent in 2015, according to a survey by Unata. Nielsen research estimates $100 billion of grocery revenue will be sold through digital channels by 2025, representing between 20 to 25 percent of total grocery revenue.

With this untapped opportunity at the forefront, manufacturers and retailers are working together through the common language of standards to create better supply chain agility. Online grocery shoppers want value, ease of use, a good assortment of products, and an overall convenient experience. Gone are the days where proprietary systems provided a “good enough” view of the product. The pressure is on to create the channel-consistent, fast, and easy experiences consumers have now come to expect.

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