News Feature | September 19, 2013

Grocery and Convenience Store IT News For VARS — September 19, 2013

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By Anna Rose Welch, Editor, Biosimilar Development
Follow Me On Twitter @AnnaRoseWelch

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Business Solutions searched recent headlines for news of interest to VARs serving grocery and convenience store clients.

FDA Publishes Safety Rules For Importers                                                 

Daryll E. Ray and Harwood D. Shaffer for Agweek report that the FDA has published two new safety rules in accordance with the Food Safety and Modernization Act. Ray and Shaffer focus particularly on The Foreign Supplier Verification Program for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals. This rule requires that the importer prove the import is in compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Importers will be expected to identify any hazards with their products, maintain documentation of auditing, sampling, and testing, and take corrective action to right any hazards.

Top Natural Food Trends Include Convenience, Allergen Concerns

Yahoo! Finance profiles the top five U.S. natural products industry food trends, put forth by New Hope Natural Media and the Sterling-Rice Group. Natural, organic, and functional foods and beverages accounted for $94.7 billion of the $703 billion consumer food sales in 2012. Trends retailers must keep in mind this year include convenience, allergen concerns, rising numbers of vegetarians, local foods, and cause marketing.

U.S. Farmers Falling Behind In Organic Feed Crops

Mark Hamstra for Super Market News reports that a rising number of organic meat and dairy product suppliers are turning to India and China for organic feed crops. Wall Street Journal writer Mark Peters claims U.S. commodity crop farmers “are failing to keep pace” because of a lack of financial incentive to switch to organic. Feed imports are expected to double to $100 million this year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. However, this rise in imports also creates consumer concern about whether the imports are legitimately organic.

Data-Driven Applications On The Rise

Super Market News completed a survey of retailers and supermarket wholesalers and found that from 58.1to 76.7 percent of respondents are using data-driven applications. The survey focused on how stores are using websites, social media, and omni-channel retailing, among other applications. The article includes figures detailing supermarkets’ use of computer based ordering, applications, future applications, social media efforts, and online shopping.

Grocers Must Adapt To American Shoppers’ Preferences

Anne Marie Mohan, senior editor for Packaging World, highlights some insights from Laurie Demeritt, CEO of the Hartman Group. Dermeritt, in a recent conference, elaborated upon shifts occurring in American shoppers’ food preparation, consumption, and shopping. Some of her insights suggest retailers must embrace global foods, reconsider marketing strategies, and provide more packaged options for single people.

Grocery IT Talking Points

Andrea Chang and Tiffany Hsu for the Los Angeles Times profile some of the technological advancements occurring in United State’s grocery stores. Analysts say that these advancements are necessary in order to appeal to younger shoppers, to remain competitive, and to increase revenue during the recession. However, analysts also argue that grocers need to be sure that the technology chosen does not alienate customers.  

In his column for Private Label Store Brands, Michael Sorenson claims that marketers have failed to address the baby boomer generation. Because this generation is split between older and younger boomers, retailers would be better off to avoid sweeping marketing strategies and rely on highly targeted strategies. Stores looking to increase sales among this generation can begin relying on private label options that appeal to boomers’ views on store brands and financial status.