Brits could dump supermarkets in next 10 years

Less than half of Brits (49 per cent) think they will be buying most of their food from supermarkets in the next ten years, according to research.

Software solutions firm ThoughtWorks commissioned research among over 2,000 adults and found that after ten months of lockdowns more people are considering buying food directly from food producers or online via non-supermarket brands.

The declining popularity of traditional supermarkets was most noteworthy among younger people - with just 32 per cent of under 25-year olds believing the future of food shopping involved pushing a trolley around a big store.

When considering the popular traditional alternatives to supermarkets, 34 per cent of all respondents liked the idea of getting food direct from farmers or food producers and 21 per cent believed they would grow their own food.

12 per cent still saw a role for the local corner shop, a sector that has grown during the months of lockdowns and social restrictions.

Technology was seen to have a key role to play in opening up consumer choice, with 29 per cent thinking the future of food shopping was with major online stores that also sold food.

And 20 per cent saw more of a future for the delivery of prepared meals, whilst some believed that by 2030 food would be ordered by online subscriptions (14 per cent) or even artificial intelligence (11 per cent).

The large majority of people predict their food shopping will be done online by 2030 - via a laptop (36 per cent), smartphone (26 per cent) or wearable technology (16 per cent).

Kevin Flynn, director of retail strategy at ThoughtWorks, said: “During lockdown, many bought food online and, through this experience, they discovered local and artisan food producers that themselves innovated during lockdown.”

He said: “The irony is whilst 2020 was the year when supermarkets stood tall in making sure we got fed during the pandemic, it was also the year when technology helped the consumer to discover other ways to buy and enjoy food.

“This seismic shift will only accelerate further after the pandemic and how supermarkets react to this will dictate whether 2020, with hindsight, proves their golden age or their swansong.”

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