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Key takeaways from Thought Leadership Conference

Did you miss the event?

When it comes to grocery, keeping on top of the trends is everything. Want proof? Earlier this week, the grocery community came together for Canadian Grocer's annual Thought Leadership CEO Conference.

Nearly 300 leaders of the country's food industry were present for an inspiring afternoon of sessions at Toronto's Fairmont Royal York hotel.

Keynote speakers included IGD's Joanne Denney-Finch, who spoke about the key skills needed for tomorrow's grocery industry, and Wehuns Tan, CEO and co-founder of Flipp, who dove deep into how Canada needs to implement a culture of change to drive innovation.

But technology and innovation weren’t the only topics up for discussion—millennials and the future of the industry were also covered.

Carmen Fortino, EVP, Ontario division head, Metro, and Ron Welke, associate VP with Federated Co-operatives Limited, each participated in one-on-one on-stage interviews where they not only discussed developments in their own companies, but also in the industry as a whole.

A panel on food trends led by marketing guru Tony Chapman tackled everything from where suppliers and grocers get their ideas for upcoming products, to what the role of smaller players is in the grocery industry.

If you didn't attend, not to worry, we have you covered. Here's a snapshot of things you may want to know:

  1. 1. Take time to walk around your store with your customers to get their perspectives.

  2. 2. Place the healthiest foods in the best locations.

  3. 3. Invest in creativity and product expertise.

  4. 4. Drones and robots are improving the shopping experience.

  5. 5. Agility is the new watch word.

  6. 6. Customer service is the same as it was 30 years ago even with technology.

  7. 7. Back-to-basics for families – healthy, fast and affordable are key words.

  8. 8. Snacking and on-the-go foods are gaining popularity.

  9. 9. Sampling and demos are a great way to see a difference in sales.

  10. 10. People like to know where their food comes from and like clean ingredients.

  11. 11. Healthy means something different to everyone.

  12. 12. Time is a constraint. People like fuss-free solutions.

  13. 13. Turmeric is hot right now as well as condiments.

  14. 14. Butter is trending over margarine and plant based proteins over animal proteins.

  15. 15. People want the prep work done for them. So spiralize their zucchinis for them, but let them feel in control of their food.

  16. 16. Use social media at the corporate and local levels, but use them differently.


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