Tetra Pak underlines four trends in grocery

With the online grocery sector in Thailand estimated to grow five-fold by 2030 based on current projections, Tetra Pak Thailand is highlighting four major trends in online grocery in the 11th annual edition of the Tetra Pak Index.

In the study, the food processing and packaging giant focuses on the rise of online grocery and the unique challenges it presents for the food and drink industry, underscoring the importance of speed, personalisation and uniqueness, as well as convenience and eco-friendliness.

Ratanasiri Tilokskulchai, marketing director of Tetra Pak Thailand, said the Thai grocery marketplace has faced challenges this year with the overall FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) market down 2%, while online grocery shopping, though still only a small piece of the market, keeps growing and already plays a significant role in the industry.

“The Tetra Pak Index forecasts that the online grocery segment will grow by 17% worldwide from 2017 to 2022, whereas traditional grocery outlets, such as supermarkets and convenience stores, will continue to play a major role in the market, but with a much slower growth rate of 2-5%,” Ms Ratanasiri said.

This is primarily because consumers now look for the most convenient channels that let them make purchases using their smartphones. Bangkok is one of the world’s leapfrogging pioneers in the online grocery business, with the market estimated to grow from 1.1% in 2016 to 5.7% by 2030.

Ms Ratanasiri points to four major trends for brands to consider in terms of product development to keep up with these challenges:

Convenience. As time-crunched shoppers look for new ways to make their lives easier, key opportunities include easy-to-use products that are convenient to consume, keep and transport.

Sustainability. Nowadays people show increased interest in the entire process, from how raw materials are selected to how products are recycled. Consumers also want to know how brands commit to protecting the world.

Personalisation and uniqueness. Getting consumers to purchase items online without first seeing and trying them in person creates a challenge that can be addressed through high-quality attractive packaging. Great packaging not only helps to stimulate trial purchases, but also provides a fun unboxing experience that may lead to further purchases.

Technology and performance. Smart packaging using codes to communicate with customers via smartphones, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and quick response (QR) codes, will greatly improve efficiency in online grocery logistics. This is crucial because logistics has grown increasingly complex as consumers shift towards buying more frequently but in smaller amounts. The use of robotics, AI and data processing are all part of the solution.

“Smart packaging features allow brands to connect and provide positive consumer experience, which is key to online grocery shopping,” Ms Ratanasiri said. “Sharing important information, such as production materials, nutrition facts, current promotions and environmental initiatives, is only one example of how smart packaging can be used. It opens up all kinds of possibilities for strategic communications and creating a sustainable relationship with consumers in the future.”

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