The nation’s largest grocery conference, Groceryshop 2023, kicked off on Sept. 19 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The three-day event drew more than 4,000 attendees, including over 1,700 retailers and brands across segments such as grocery, CPG, convenience, beauty care and others. This year’s event showcased 175 speakers, including the CEOs of The Kroger Co. and Ahold Delhaize USA and co-presidents of Hy-Vee. Besides insights on the changing grocery retail landscape, topics included artificial intelligence, retail media, operations, marketing and merchandising, hiring and talent, the omnichannel experience, food pricing and inflation, technology and digital innovation, e-commerce profitability, store operations, consumer behavior trends and many others. The 2023 show also marketed the debut of Meetup, Groceryshop’s meetings program to enable 25,000 one-to-one meetings between grocery retail and CPG attendees.
Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of The Kroger Co., got Groceryshop 2023 with an opening keynote interview with CNBC’s Melissa Repko. He gave some perspective on what’s behind Kroger’s pending mega-merger with Albertsons Cos. as well as their $1.9 billion deal to divest 413 stores, eight distribution centers and other assets to C&S Wholesale Grocers to help gain FTC approval for the merger.
JJ Fleeman, CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA, discussed the East Coast grocer’s unified commerce strategy with Joe Laszlo, VP of content for Groceryshop. In his keynote, Fleeman also explained Giant Food’s move to pull some national-brand products and replace them with own brands at a Washington, D.C., store to combat excessive theft.
Jennifer Hopper, CIO of Save A Lot, and Luke Anderson, CIO of Cub Foods, gave their takes on building a strong technology workforce in a session titled “Hiring and Upskilling Digital Talent.” They noted that having business-line knowledge has become more critical for grocery industry IT and digital teams.
Scott Moses, partner and head of the grocery, pharmacy and restaurants advisory group at Solomon Partners, opened a lot of eyes in a rapid overview of grocery industry competition. His “12 Things You Might Not Know” about U.S. grocery presentation highlighted the steady growth of non-traditional grocers—mass merchants, warehouse clubs, dollar stores, limited-assortment discount grocers, drug chains and online retailers (read Amazon)—and how they’ve been siphoning grocery retail market share from conventional supermarkets over the past 20 years.
Longtime star Wall Street retail analyst Karen Short, former managing director at Credit Suisse, sized up the economic picture for the grocery sector heading into 2024. Among her observations: Grocery retailers can expect to make ongoing price investments and adjustments to help customers navigate with a difficult consumer environment.
The Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle, which began production this year, can deliver up to five orders per trip, according to the company. Locked storage units and customer authentication keep orders safe, while sliding drawers in the self-driving vehicle ease loading and unloading for employees and customers.
Retail media was ever-present at this year’s Groceryshop in discussions and on the show floor, whether it was CitrusAd’s platform for connecting grocery retailers and their customers with CPG brands …
Upshop’s software-as-a-service-based “total store” solution provides one operations platform for fresh and center-store departments plus direct-store delivery and e-commerce.