New Pathways to the Pantry – Top Five Takeaways

Canadian consumers expect to access food conveniently, efficiently and safely. Thanks to the increase in online ordering, delivery and other cashless transactions they’re finding innovative options to meet their demands. And if one food business isn’t offering those options, they’ll quickly move to one that can.

During the pandemic, Canadians increasingly turned to their smartphones to order groceries, meal kits, and food subscriptions, and the lines between restaurant and grocery store continued to blur. Consumers increasingly began segmenting their shopping lists into categories like online shopping, subscription deliveries, or a trip to the club store.

Exploring these new ways consumers access food was the focus of CFIN’s first members-only experience, held virtually on March 17, 2022. The one-hour session was moderated by Dana McCauley, CFIN’s Chief Experience Officer, in discussion with food entrepreneurs:

· Khalil Khamis, CEO of Crafty Ramen, a restaurant and meal kit subscription service with locations in Guelph and Kitchener, ON;

· Kris Linney, co-founder Toronto’s GoodGood, a café grocery chain retailing locally made products; and

· Matthieu Vincent, co-founder of Paris, France-based food tech consultant Digital Food Lab.

Curious about what they had to say? Here are the top five takeaways from the session:

1. Post-pandemic, Canadians will continue to purchase food in a variety of ways

The need for convenience isn’t going away, so demand for online ordering, meal kits and subscription services that offer a unique or new at-home experience will only increase.

2. Consumers don’t want to pay extra for online ordering and delivery

That means operators will have to incorporate the costs of delivery services into their ecommerce modelling for now. Having a hybrid (in-person and online) model or diversified revenue channels can help offset costs.

3. Companies are investing in more creative and efficient ecommerce and delivery models

Food startups are considering delivery models as part of their business plan, rather than as a loss leader. Existing businesses can reinvent their ecommerce offering through third-party providers such as Shopify, which also help offset consumer concerns about cybersecurity.

4. Companies can leverage technology to enhance the customer experience and connection

Keeping in touch with customers through apps to offer personalized samples, and offering options like pre-ordering online, can drive repeat visits and visits during different parts [DM5] of the day.

5. New technology is making the delivery process safer, more efficient and transparent

Food safety can be a major barrier to delivery. Companies are overcoming this challenge by using third-party apps and tools like sensors to schedule delivery, track product movement, monitor temperature, and keep customers notified with links to tracking. Expect more innovations to emerge around food safety and delivery.

Want to re-live the event? Check out the full-length recording on your YouTube page.