This model centers on the idea that consumers want to make their own healthy meals but don’t want or need to hassle with going to the store to buy food. Will startups dominate this space? Will grocers create their own services? Maybe both. The next five years will be telling as this market matures.
But let’s take a step back and consider broader trends influencing eating decisions. These fall into two buckets: grocery-like services and advanced logistics. Grocery-like services cut out the middlemen (read: grocery chains). These are companies like Blue Apron, with the tagline “fresh ingredients, original recipes, delivered to you.”
In the long-term, augmented reality could be embraced for an improved in-store experience. Not sure where an item is? Customers could pull out their phones and follow an augmented-reality path through the store to an item’s location. Want to know more about a product — like what other customers are saying, actually understandable nutrition facts, pictures of meals, or how-to-cook videos? Open your phone, hold a product in front of the camera, and computer vision will identify the item and pull up relevant information. Samsung introduced this ability in mid-2017 with the Galaxy S8’s Bixby feature, as did Google with Google Lens. Partnerships between grocery chains and these two companies would elevate the technology to weekly use and increase in-store customer satisfaction.