Will we be graced with apple trees and catch your own tilapia ponds at supermarket by 2020? Probably not, but scientists and architects are working on that. However, in eight years, we can expect subtle and technological enhancements to our shopping experience.
- In Your Face Experiences
- No More Lines!
- Home Appliance Integration
Let's muse upon supermarket development over the last decade. Enhanced visual appeal has been big, notably soft down-lighting and rustic merchandising features. Cheese counters, sandwich bars, antipasti, and salad bars are yesterday's news. Self-Checkout lanes are everywhere. "Health-food" offerings have expanded exponentially.
I'm predicting that we will see continuation of these trends and expansion of "farm to fork" philosophy. Technology will also integrate more deeply into the consumer side as well as the business side. We won't even bat an eyelid when our cell phones can ring in and pay for our groceries.
It's already happening! There is a store in Germany called "The Real Future Store" that is experimenting with these concepts via its staff and customers. For example, customers are subtly lured to the amazing seafood department by modern day sirens in the form of essential oils and sounds of the ocean. Inventory is tracked via RFID, and customers get to checkout instantly with their phones.
Demanding customers are already pressuring supermarkets to offer locally-produced goods. We will see an uptick in that trend as well, but don't expect a low price. Local producers will continue to be squeezed and pressured by an unfair market that exists thanks to monopolies, regulations, and insufficient financing. However, if you want to buy local eggs, you'll probably have that option!
Other trends I predict are resurgence of bulk foods, decreased packaging, the death of the plastic bag, and technological enhancements (such as your fridge sending your phone a grocery list). Actually, it's probably happening in the labs of consumer tech companies already - imagine an automated grocery list that just pops up on your phone. "Siri, how many eggs do I need to buy?" "Given that you don't eat eggs, Wendy, you don't need any right now."
Supermarkets will one day be self-sustaining utopias. They will grow their own food and offer customers the chance to pick apples from a tree, but these drastic advancements are at least 30 years out. In the meantime, we can look forward to prettier displays, more exotic offerings, and the pleasure of watching your cell phone crash as you're trying to check out.