Grocers are spending more on bits and bites

Grocery stores are investing more and more in tech (but not VR, thankfully).

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. More tech at the grocery store is fine, but let’s make sure it actually solves the industry’s most urgent problem: the smell at the seafood counter.

grocery cart

Unfortunately for us, it appears America’s food retailers have other (much better) ideas.

AI-ron chefs

The industry spent 1.3% of its total sales, or $13B+, on technology investments in 2022, per Grocery Dive.

The numbers come from The Food Industry Association’s 74th annual report, which we’re gonna guess looks quite a lot different than its 4th — and probably even its 64th:

  • A quarter of food retailers and over one-third of suppliers are now using AI to track and predict consumer interests and spending.
  • Last year, 85% of retailers were trying new tech to improve customer experiences, up from 2021’s 73%, and 83% say they’ll increase their tech spending this year.

Where’s that money going?

Innovation in brick-and-mortar food retail has generally been hot — outside of grocery shopping with VR goggles, which thankfully has not.

  • We’ve previously written about Instacart’s smart Caper Carts and e-ink price tags.
  • Last fall, startup Swiftly raised $100m to grow its app-building service for groceries.
  • Just last week, Amazon said it plans to bring palm scanning to all Whole Foods stores, which we will: a) definitely try out, and b) nervously laugh every time we do.
Topics: Grocery

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