Delegates attending this year's FRESH Congress in Paris will get to witness first-hand the ongoing development of drive-through grocery retailing in France with a guided tour of Auchan's Chronodrive concept.
The recent growth of click and collect, which offers the convenience of online ordering but allows shoppers to avoid spending time and money waiting at home for groceries to be delivered, has attracted plenty of attention over the past decade in France, where Chronodrive establised its first outlet as long ago as 2004.
The chain now runs 51 outlets in the country, and the French drive-through model has arguably inspired the format's development in other key markets like the UK, where major food retailers have more recently jumped on the click-and-collect bandwagon.
Following a day's conference on 13 June at the Pullman Bercy hotel in Paris, FRESH delegates will have the opportunity to visit one of the major Chronodrive outlets operated by Auchan in Ballainvilliers, to the south of the French capital.
This year's FRESH Congress will focus heavily on the key trends emerging in global consumer markets. During the conference, Linda Eatherton of Chicago-based consultancy Ketchum will provide a detailed report on a new, emerging segment of the international market that could have a decisive impact on the future success of companies and brands in the fresh produce business.
Citing new research only recently compiled, Eatherton will identify apparent disparities between the actions of food companies and the perceptions and expectations of consumers. "In this third wave of research, we reveal a new, emerging segment of influencers who may well determine the fate of brands and businesses but few have recognised or addressed."
Ketchum sampled consumers in six regions of the world – Germany, Italy, the UK, China, US and Argentina – to find out what they would do if they were put in charge of the world’s food supply. During FRESH2013, Eatherton will provide an insight into the survey's findings.
According to Eatherton, the past decade has seen a dramatic shift in power when it comes to consumer behaviour, moving towards a marketplace where consumers themselves are driving developments.
"Technology has literally armed consumers with the ability to unite; to have influence; to inform; design products and even hold court in split second speed," Eatherton continues. "If technology evolves, as it is sure to do, what impact will consumers have on food and agricultural businesses in the next decade?"
FRESH, the leading annual conference and networking event for the European fresh produce business, is organised by Eurofruit and Freshfel Europe.