Little has changed about what it means to go grocery shopping over the years. Even in early civilizations, people went to a market to buy or barter for ingredients. But changes in technology have allowed people to stock their pantries without leaving their homes. With the click of a mouse, a cart full of food can be purchased and delivered right to consumers’ front doors.
According to a survey by Nielsen, one-quarter of respondents have already started using online grocery services, and 55 percent say they’d be interested in doing so in the future. A report from IBISWorld showed that online grocery sales in the U.S. alone reached $12 billion in 2016, and has increased 11 percent over the past five years.
IBISWorld pointed out that online grocery services are largely regionally based. For example, the industry’s primary leader, PeaPod, only operates in 12 states plus the District of Columbia, and only comprises 6.3 percent of the market share. This means that smaller companies have potential to gain traction in their respective areas, granted they begin with the right strategies.
Online grocery obstacles
When beginning a grocery delivery business, there are many obstacles to overcome. One of the biggest involves the heart of your company: the actual food delivery. Fresh produce, fish, meats and other proteins and frozen foods need to be kept cool to remain unspoiled.
“Fresh produce and frozen foods need to be kept cool to remain unspoiled.”
There are two factors that companies need to prioritize to ensure fresh food is still fresh by the time it arrives at the customer’s door: timing and packaging. Operations should be organized to allow delivery drivers to get orders to customers in short time frames, or in a time the customer specified. However, the packaging should be equipped with features that allow the food to stay temperature controlled during transport or longer in the event that the consumer is not home to put the groceries away when they are delivered.
The first step in ensuring food stays cool is to pack the cold in with the food. Ice/gel packs can create the right temperature environment for perishable food items.
The next step is to maintain this temperature by reflecting heat. Some materials offer excellent heat-reflecting properties, such as aluminum. Penguin Pack from Pregis is an excellent example of this. It comes in a variety of convenient configurations for online food delivery businesses to utilize. Pouches are perfect for slipping a cut of steak or fish into, while box liners fit snuggly into a cardboard box.
There are many packaging choices available to companies offering grocery or meal kit delivery services. When choosing the right solution, it is important to consider journey of the package to ensure it delivers exactly what is promised: fresh food, convenience and the time to spend doing the things consumers love!