On 21 November 2016, Ebitt hosted Future Food at the Natwest HQ in London, an event targeted at food and drink retailers looking to grow in the next 12 months. Alex Johns, ex-COO of Ebitt, delivered a talk on the omnichannel future of retail, followed by guest speakers from Mastercard, Wagamama, Restaurant Associates and Oppo. The event was chaired by Fraser Tant, previously Head of Marketing at IGD and closed by Alex Johns, managing director of Ebitt, with a talk on the changing nature of retail. With 150 delegates, 80 brands and numerous aspiring entrepreneurs in attendance, the event was a fantastic opportunity to network with the industry’s finest.
- Restaurant Associates
“Ebitt delivered an exceptional event that truly captured everyone in the room and added real value to their businesses. We couldn’t be more pleased to have partnered with Ebitt in hosting Future Food.”
Head of Retail & Wholesale at Natwest London
Future Food is the fifth event in the Ebitt and Natwest Accelerate Series. The Series offer a sequence of industry events, which exist to bring together large established brands with smaller businesses to share knowledge and experience. Each event provides an exciting speaker line-up and sets hungry businesses on a path of acceleration.
Why food and drink retail?
Food and drink retail is changing fast. Grocery shoppers now use an average of 4.6 different channels to complete their weekly shopping including supermarkets, convenience stores and online platforms (IGD Shopper Vista). The true challenge for today’s food and drink retailers is to deliver seamless brand messages and shopping experiences across a multitude of platforms in a truly ominchannel way.
Advice to accelerating businesses
Using insights from 20 years in the retail industry, Ebitt’s managing director, Alex Johns, discussed the fast-paced changes affecting food and drink retail and how brands can adapt to stay relevant. Alex offered tips and advice for retailers looking to grow their businesses. See the summary of Alex’s talk and watch the full video below.
1. Retailers need a big plan just to stay relevant. The industry is moving too fast to stand still
2. Having a usable strategy, which is used as a weekly business barometer, is crucial to stay on top of your goals
3. Direct retail is an excellent opportunity to explore your target consumers
The guest speakers
From digital marketing innovations and selfie payment apps to sustainable farming methods and sugar-free foods, our guest speakers covered a host of issues that modern food and drink retailers face today.
1. Fast technological changes are altering our understanding of industries and barriers to industry are being lowered
2. Everyone and everything is becoming connected and the expectation for personalised digital experiences is growing
3. Omnichannel retail can be seen in practice through innovations such as cashless retail, smarter checkouts and faster check-outs online
1. Although many businesses are fundamentally sound, consumers are becoming more demanding than ever
2. Remaining relevant to consumers is about maintaining an emotional connection
3. The future is digital and it involves integrated brand marketing, a culture of innovation and closer relationships with customers
1. There is clear consumer demand for food provenance – shoppers are demanding transparent and accessible information about their food
2. Foods previously treated as waste products are making an ethical comeback, British veal being the perfect example
3. Food sustainability and responsible sourcing should be moving high onto producers’ agendas
1. There is a huge gap in the food and drink sector for healthy yet indulgent goods but these products require extensive innovation
2. Brands should stay close to the end consumer. If your product doesn’t serve your consumers well, there will be little chance of succeeding
3. Crowdfunding is an effective way of reaching investors and creating a pool of brand ambassadors
The event was focused around big ideas and practical recommendations for food and drink retailers as well as restaurant and bar businesses. We were delighted to see representatives from a range of brands including supermarket giants Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Planet Organic, restaurateurs Rebel Kitchen, the Azzuri Group and Paul UK and exciting start-ups such as Bol Foods, Ugly Drinks and Pack’d amongst many others.
In partnership with RBS and Entrepreneurial Spark, Natwest run accelerator programmes for entrepreneurs and high growth businesses, offering work space, mentoring and funding advise. We featured 4 of their most exciting food and drink brands, including TrueStart Coffee, OMGTeas, Halo Coffee and Go Faster Food and encouraged delegates to sample their products. Ebitt always seek to support and grow the brands of tomorrow and will continue our work with Entrepreneurial Spark in the future.
“Future Food was a fantastic event. It brought together a lot of different organisations and created opportunities for many of the Entrepreneurial Spark businesses. Many of them actually received introductions which will truly propel them to the next level. Thank you for the opportunity”
Entrepreneur Development Manager at Natwest