Highlights from Star Women in Grocery breakfast

Turning setbacks into successes and capturing the millennial customer were key themes at the morning session

Sometimes you can learn more from losing than winning.

This was one of the topics discussed at the 5th annual Star Women in Grocery conference hosted by Canadian Grocer.

Held at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ont., keynote speaker, Dana McCauley, executive director of Food Starter and CEO of Blue Unicorn Innovation, reflected on her experiences in the food biz, but her take-home message was the importance of knowing that we all make mistakes and the importance of learning from them.

“If it happens once, it probably won’t happen again,” she said. You can either live in fear of failure or move forward, she added.

McCauley went on to talk about the value of taking setbacks and turning them into opportunities.

READ: Meet the 2016 Star Women Winners

Marketing guru and motivational speaker Tony Chapman joined five of this year's Star Women winners on stage to moderate a panel discussion regarding their insights into the grocery industry. The panel included Ali Davies of Kraft-Heinz, Mona Kragh from Overwaitea, Kathlyne Ross from Loblaw, Kim Thompson from Crossmark and Ingrid Willemsen from Sunripe.

A hot topic for the panel was millennials, referred to as the "holy grail" of customers. Chapman noted millennials' penchant for instant gratification and their fear of missing out. Plus, added Chapman, they're not particularly brand loyal.

An important question that was brought up: Millennials eat half their meals out of the home, so how can retailers get them back into the grocery store? Kragh noted that millennials like to experiment with food, and so grocers can educate them about how to cook meals that are fast, simple and convenient.

Willemsen talked about the importance of the in-store experience and private-label brands, which bring customers back again and again.

NOMINATE a Star Women in grocery for 2017

Davies noted that Kraft-Heinz is catering to new customers by creating new categories, using the example of Tassimo pods and the coffee category as an area of innovation.

Ontario chain Farm Boy was cited as a great example of a grocer doing new things. With a focus on fresh and HMR, the company is on the march, adding around four new stores a year (including one opening this week in Toronto suburb of Pickering).

The outcome from the talk was that personalization and differentiation matter if grocers are to compete on more than just price. Millennials like technology, and the industry has to be faster, better and smarter with all technological changes happening around them.

With Kraft-Heinz’s Davies on the panel, the conference wouldn’t be complete without touching on the "ketchup wars" this past spring and how companies can address public concerns. Davies said Kraft-Heinz's strategy was not over-react or stray from its brand message. The reason? Heinz ketchup is a supermarket staple with a loyal customer following and 70-plus market share in its category.

To read all about this year's Star Women winners go here. And Canadian Grocer is already preparing for the 2017 Star Women Awards. To nominate an outstanding women working in the grocery sector, click here.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds