Twenty years from now, there will be almost 10 million more people living in Australia. We’ll all be living longer, working longer, and there will be more multi-generational households than ever before. The teenagers of today, who have never known a world without mobile technology, will be the dominant consumers. So what will that mean for how we buy our food?
According to Mark McCrindle, a social demographer and author of Woolworth’s Future of Fresh report, supermarkets will still be alive and kicking – in fact, they’ll be bigger and more interactive. Here are his key predictions.
We’ll still shop there every week
While the amount of online food shopping will increase in 20 years,it won’t dominate how we buy food. “Most of us will shop online for dry goods, pantry items and cleaning products, but we’ll also be going to the supermarket to buy fresh food, and to get that sensory experience – to see and touch new products before we buy them,” McCrindle says.
He believes that most of us will still shop at a supermarket once or twice a week. “Our shop will be a ‘top-up’ shop rather than a ‘trolley filler’ shop.”
Our fridge will tell us what we need
In 20 years, all of our devices will be communicating with each other. “There will be barcode readers in our fridge and pantry, which will automatically update the shopping list on our smart device when items are about to run out,” McCrindle says.
Trolleys and shelves will talk to us
Your trolley will turn into a personal shopping assistant by syncing up to your mobile device. “It will show you the best shopping route to take, know what items you’ve bought in the past and will mention if they’re on sale.” McCrindle says you’ll also be able to tap your phone on a product’s barcode on the supermarket shelf to view its health informationand source.
We’ll buy more meals and less ingredients
We love our fresh food, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be cooking it. “We’re going to see chefs and gourmet experts creating the meals in-store, and we’ll take [meals] home to finish off in the kitchen,” McCrindle says. There will also be an increase in portioned food tailored to high-density homes.
They’ll keep getting bigger
Supermarkets are already adding sushi bars and cafes to the usual bakery and deli counter line-up, and McCrindle says there will be even more in-store zones in 20 years. This will reflect the role of shopping centres as community hubs. There will also be more foods from south-east Asia and the Middle East, reflecting our cultural diversity.
Cooks will replace cashiers
Self-checkout counters will be the norm by 2034. “We’ll be making payments with a swipe of our smartphone, anyway. So there’s vulnerability for anyone employed in a role that can be replaced by technology,” McCrindle says. But supermarkets will still have staff, who will instead be doing product demonstrations, cooking and assembling food.