Sensors in Your Cereal: The Next Food War
There’s one rule you must never forget.
Never, ever … go to the grocery hungry.
You know you’ve done it and regretted it.
You got that text or quick call minutes before you left the office. “Honey, can you stop and pick up a gallon of milk?” Or: “Could you grab something quick for dinner? The fridge is just bare.”
You’re starving after a long day at work. You think that you’re just going to quickly dip in, grab milk and maybe a couple of steaks, and then run right out again.
But the selection is overwhelming, and everything looks so good.
Suddenly that $20 or $30 trip to the grocery has changed into $100.
It’s OK. You’re not alone. I’ve done it many times, and so has my husband.
I’m just here to warn you that grocery stores are going to become even more dangerous to your wallet. But they may be more generous to your investment portfolio…
The New Grocery Shopping Experience
Grocery shopping is an experience that we can all relate to in some fashion, whether you’re the type to buy for a single day, a week or a month. We wander the aisles looking for something good, quick, easy or even just different.
We find aisles stuffed with colorful boxes, cans and bags of food. All of it is trying to entice you to pick it up.
It would seem that shopping for food really hasn’t changed much over the past several decades. Maybe the boxes have gotten a little flashier, but it’s still the same old corn flakes and spaghetti.
That’s where you’d be wrong.
The first name that tends to come to mind when it comes to tech and shopping is Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN). It was less than a year ago that the retail behemoth revealed its Amazon Go experiment.
This is a grab-and-go store with no cashiers. You log in with the Amazon app, put what you want in your bag and then leave. Sensors around the store track what you pick up, and you are automatically charged when you leave.
But it’s not just Amazon.
To keep up with the grocery war that is being waged between Amazon and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) for your dollars, grocery retailer The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) has been implementing its own tech solutions.
Right now, Kroger is leaning heavily on Big Data. Over the past several years, the company has invested billions in hiring engineers with skills in data analytics and app development.
As a result, Kroger is testing an app that will look at sales based on whether the customer is a meat eater or a vegetarian. The app will show store managers how products are selling in any particular aisle, revealing prices and sales figures for the items on the shelves.
The grocery chain has also started implementing the use of sensors to track the number of people in stores. This technology alerts managers when new registers need to be opened before it becomes too busy.
And Kroger is testing out a new wireless scanning service it calls “Scan, Bag, Go” in stores next year. This will allow customers to ring up items as they shop and pay through an app.
In Every Sector
While this heavy investment may hurt the grocery chain’s bottom line from the start, it will allow Kroger to stay competitive with the likes of Amazon and Wal-Mart.
And whether you think Kroger will survive the food wars, the key is that behind all of these attempts to grab consumer dollars are sensors, software and Big Data.
The Internet of Things is seeping into every inch of our lives. By 2020, spending for this tech is forecast to top $373 billion.
Demand is shifting across all the various sectors, and the focus of that demand is the Internet of Things. Investing in the companies making these sensors and pushing forward these innovations is going to be very profitable.
But it’s not just about making our lives easier and more convenient.
It’s also about allowing retailers, doctors and manufacturers to tailor products and experiences to better fit our demands.
Don’t miss out.
Sr. Managing Editor, Sovereign Investor Daily
P.S. It’s easy to see how new technology has changed shopping and our homes, but are you aware of how health care has leapt massively forward through the use of precision medicine? Profits Unlimited Editor Paul Mampilly has a special report on how precision medicine is going to help us lead longer, happier lives … and how it’s going to be the next big investment boom. To learn more, click here now.