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It Behooves Specialty Stakeholders to Understand Evolution of Homes

Specialty Food Association

“There is a role for us in the specialty food industry to understand the evolution of homes and make an impact on it,” said Paco Underhill, author of “How We Eat—The Brave New World of Food and Beverages” and founder of Envirosell, a behavioral research and consulting firm, during his keynote presentation at last week’s Winter Fancy Food Show.

He related that according to 2020 census data, fewer than 25 percent of American homes consisted of a mother, father, and dependent children.

“Almost 97 percent of suburban homes are designed for a nuclear family,” he said. “But think about how many of us experience homes with three generations living under the same roof.”

Underhill, who has worked with home appliance maker Samsung, said “we’re not that far away from a kitchen that keeps track of everything in the fridge, on the shelf, in the trash, and what our purchase history is. Part of what we’re looking at is a shopping experience that is both interactive” and automated.

He also highlighted innovations that are already being leveraged around the world.

“There are supermarkets in Sweden where I can walk in, pick up a cart and a scanner and scan my phone and then the item, put it in the bag and the scanner records the item, price and weight,” he said. “When I leave, I move the cart across a scale and if the weight checks out, I go to the parking lot. In many cases the checkout was revolutionized 15 years ago so where the hell is the U.S.?”

He also related that Tesco is testing a system whereby online shoppers are given feedback on their nutritional choices and the carbon footprint of their purchases.

“It’ll probably hit Korea first, but it’s also coming here,” he said.

The Specialty Food Association thanks Zipline Logistics, which sponsored the session. Zipline Logistics is an award-winning North American 3PL that specializes exclusively in the transportation of retail consumer goods.

Related: Livestream Coverage Honors Industry Leaders Paying it Forward; SFA Celebrates Leadership Award Winners.