Upbeat message for independent traders

The future is bright for independent retailers, according to the chief executive of a food and drink research company.

Joanne Denney-Finch said in her keynote speech at the IGD convention that just 31% of tomorrow's shoppers expect to buy all their groceries at supermarkets, and that there will be strong demand for specialist food retailers.

Unveiling new research called Tomorrow's Shopping World, Denney-Finch said the research showed the industry would need to prepare for greater scrutiny of the ethics of food production. Recent IGD research into ethical consumerism found 52% of shoppers said their purchasing decisions were partly governed by ethical matters.

She also predicted that successful suppliers and retailers would need to meet the shopper of the future's demand for instant gratification through technological innovation.

Denney-Finch said: "The way these changes are viewed will depend on where you sit in the market. For some they are a golden opportunity, for others a major threat. But for the food industry in total they channel competition away from just price. The more we do that, the more choice we can offer to consumers and the better our return will be."

Concluding her speech, Denney-Finch said: "New technology, online shopping, ethical shoppers, environmental consciousness, healthy eating, premium retailers, market-focused stores and new attitudes from a new generation of shoppers are all combining to shake up the status quo, so we should stop claiming this is a mature industry."

She added: "The business model of today won't work tomorrow but the opportunities are there - the best opportunities for a generation. Are you going to take them?"