A new push for Digitalization in the Food and Beverage Industry

March 11th, 2021

Reply’s report, conducted with the trend platform SONAR, examines the impact of the pandemic on the Food and Beverage (F&B) Industry. COVID-19, as a catalyst for digitalisation, offers opportunities to create new business models in Europe.

Across Europe, interest in online delivery services grew by an average of 140 per cent in 2020. The average share price for the largest delivery service aggregators increased by 53 percent. On average, 34 per cent of Europeans ordered food online in the third quarter of 2020, compared to 56 per cent globally.

In the early stages of the pandemic, F&B outlets across Europe were closed. With an increase in online grocery shopping, new demands on grocery retailers' logistics are emerging. Digital logistics at the backend of supply chains is important to provide a more comprehensive choice of products to consumers. Providing an omnichannel approach for the customer journey - from first contact to delivery - will be key in reaching diverse consumers with various needs.

Food delivery services stepped in to fill the gap left by the lockdown restrictions for restaurants, bars, cafés and other venues. Until restaurants open long-term, a blending of online and offline experiences will be necessary to retain and delight customers through personalized offers. Digital reservation tools will grow in importance and online seat reservations are in demand for when restrictions are lifted.

Mass market F&B chains have offered mobile and app-first offers, discounts, ordering and payment functionality for some time now. Pre-order, meal kits or post payment loyalty: more and more of the F&B industry will need to function online. According to the European Central Bank, 87% of Europeans say they will continue to pay with cash less frequently. F&B outlets that use technology for analysis and decision-making will reap the rewards. Efficiency in areas such as menu planning for restaurants as well as food ordering for consumers should be maximised. Digitally capturing consumer data will help grocery retailers better understand consumers and differentiate themselves from the competition.

"F&B companies that design the end-to-end consumer experiences based on strategic, data-driven insights create opportunities for hyper-personalised offers tailored to custom-made preferences, which not only contributes to additional revenue streams, but also consumer loyalty. Understanding consumer behaviour and preferences provides an assured perspective on how brands can grow in the long term", comments Filippo Rizzante, CTO Reply.

The COVID-19 Food & Beverage report is part of a series published by Reply on how the pandemic is impacting businesses and daily lives. All reports can be found at Reply COVID-19 series.

To read the full report, please click here.

Reply [MTA, STAR: REY, ISIN: IT0005282865] specialises in the design and implementation of solutions based on new communication channels and digital media. As a network of highly specialised companies, Reply defines and develops business models enabled by the new models of AI, big data, cloud computing, digital media and the internet of things. Reply delivers consulting, system integration and digital services to organisations across the telecom and media; industry and services; banking and insurance; and public sectors.

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