About this report
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on aspects of food retail that many shoppers may have previously taken for granted. Empty store shelves have prompted a newfound appreciation for the everyday heroes who have kept our local grocery stores stocked and operating. The pandemic has also been a driver of change in the food retail sector, accelerating e-commerce and prompting major shifts in customer behaviour.
Shake-up in Aisle 21: Disruption, change and opportunity in Ontario’s grocery sector kickstarts the Brookfield Institute’s Job Pathways in Food Retail series with insights into the complex and evolving world of Ontario’s food retail sector. The report draws on interviews with insiders in food retail senior management and at store level, as well insights from news reports and industry publications. This report explores nine trends from the rise of data to the skill sets that workers possess to the changing nature of food shopping as a consumer activity.
By calling attention to trends already underway in this fast-moving sector, we hope to enable both business and policy actors to respond to disruptions and take advantage of new opportunities. In the first section, the report examines technologies and market forces that have brought significant impact. These include the rise in online shopping since the pandemic through to the new analytics capabilities increasingly in use through tools such as loyalty programmes. Trends in market consolidation and supply chain efficiency are also highlighted.
The second section of the report takes a look at the human side of food retail, from the in-demand skills long seen as assets in grocery workers to the new traits demanded by e-commerce workers. The section also examines changes that have affected the lives of essential workers in this sector, such as the shift in peak shopping hours and the industry’s need for better tools to source top talent.
A third section of the report looks to the future and points to some of the consequences of disruption as well as areas that are ripe for innovation. By recognizing these forces at work in a sector so integral to our everyday lives, these insights will help both leaders within this sector as well as those who help keep it moving forward on a daily basis adapt for the future.
Read this report to help you:
- Recognize the technology and market trends that are having an impact on a sector that affects everyone in Canada.
- Learn how changes in food retail shopping routines are affecting and can affect workers in this essential workplace.
- Consider new opportunities for food retail from both a technology and a human resources perspective.
- Gain a sense of the potential for innovation in this dynamic sector.