DIGITAL FOOD AND EBUSINESS: THE FUTURE OF FOOD ON THE WEB

According to marketers , the future of the Food & Wine sector is increasingly digital , and terms such as Digital Food are increasingly becoming, together with eBusiness , part of the common imagination.

It is now well known that several large-scale retail chains already allow, thanks to dedicated ecommerce sections and apps , to shop online and have it delivered at home on the day and at the preferred time slot. Similarly, small online shops that offer organic or vegan foods, traditional and typical foods, as well as craft breweries and wine bars are now widespread.

EFood (or Digital Food ) was discussed extensively during the last edition of Netcomm Focus , the event that aims to promote opportunities for meetings between the most relevant supply chains that take part in the well-known Digital Transformation – a trend that by now it affects all companies across the board. In collaboration with TuttoFood , Netcomm, at the end of 2018, explored the new sector opportunities both in terms of Digital Retail and logistics , as well as Delivery and Communication .

Although the Food sector is still considered to have a low penetration rate , its growth factor is significantly marked in the digital sector, so much so that it exceeded one billion euros in turnover in 2018 alone (for a surge of 34% ).

Google also agrees that the Food & Wine sector , like many others, has now become an increasingly functional and experiential dimension for the final consumer . Eating is a real but also digital experience , and the Digital Food sector allows you to combine comfort and efficiency while ensuring a high quality of service . Especially given the fact that people have increasingly hectic lives and that the time available to go to the supermarket and cook is decreasing, the tendency to use ready-to-eat foods and food delivery servicesit is set to grow further in the near future.

To date, in Italy alone this market has a value of 3.2 billion euros , although only about 11% refer to real online services. But it is a trend inevitably destined to change.

Currently, most of the Food & Wine orders to be delivered directly to their destination involve users of both sexes and who mainly use mobile devices . However, the data-driven revolution also affects activities, and new conception “environments” such as virtual kitchens are increasingly developed , which limit themselves to preparing food only to deliver them at home, without any possibility of on-site consumption .

The objectives that the Food & Wine activities will now have to aim to achieve essentially concern the Customer Experience – which is not a surprise for those who work in the marketing field. Food industry giants such as Barilla are already moving in this direction, with solutions such as temporary shops and new recipes for customers, now reached on multiple channels. Danone is also following this trend and is now investing heavily in highly interactive and engaging campaigns such as #Vitavera , under the Activia brand and featuring native digital productions .

The food experience now starts from the consumer’s mind , with a sort of neuronal stimulus that precedes the actual sensory one . This is why the customization of the experience , even before the size of the company, will be the factor that can really make a difference.

But returning to conclude online shopping , what are Italian consumers buying today in the Food & Grocery sector ?

In order, the main expenditure is oriented on:

  • Grocery (online supermarket shopping): because it guarantees a saving of time and sometimes even money. It focuses mainly on food products with a very small percentage of expenditure dedicated to detergents and household products. Among the most purchased products are dry foods, but also drinks and frozen foods.
  • Food and wine (wine and typical quality products): this is by far the most mature segment among those offered in the digital version, so much so that it now guarantees national territorial coverage. The peculiarity lies, as it is easy to guess, in the refinement of the proposed products. Among the best sellers are typical products, coffee capsules, wine, and more generally the most refined Made in Italy products.
  • Online catering (ready meals at home): as mentioned, the home delivery of ready-to-eat food is experiencing a golden moment. The main current limit, however, is represented by the limited territoriality in which it seems to be successful, which is for the moment limited to large metropolises such as Milan, Rome and Turin. Particularly pleasing to consumers are, in this case, the concepts of variety of the menu available, the ever higher quality of the products and the speed of delivery.
By Arslan Shah

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