Woolworths managing director and chief executive Brad Banducci has told delegates at the Global Food Forum in Melbourne, hosted by the Australian, that convenience will be key focuses for the leading Australian retailer.
One year into its A$1bn turnaround to take on competitor Coles in pricing, Banducci said Woolworths strategy is to put its customer first and follow five key ‘megatrends’ – trust on price, convenience, local ranging, personalisation and health.
Driven by increasing demand for convenience from customers, as well as by the potential arrival of e-commerce giant Amazon on Australian shores, Banducci said Woolworths was re-evaluating its home delivery and convenience offerings, for both the younger generation and retirees.
Health food affordability was another issue raised by Banducci, but while 60 per cent of Woolworths customers are interested in buying organics, price was still the prohibiting factor, with organic fresh fruit and vegetables costing twice as much as conventional lines.
Innovation would be needed to tackle the higher prices of organics, with Banducci pointing to neighbouring New Zealand as being better at driving innovation within the food industry, though the enduring challenge is making those innovations scalable.
Berries are now the biggest category for Woolworths, overtaking bananas, now in second bananas and then avocados – categories with ‘superfood’ elements that cater to one of the five megatrends – growing demand for health products.