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Panasonic explores how the pandemic has transformed food services and food retail industries

New study finds shift in attitudes towards transformational technologies for food retail stores, and food services restaurants & operations

Today, Panasonic Corporation of North America, a leading technology company, released its industry survey as to how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed Food Services and Food Retail businesses. The new study reveals that one in four Food Services and Food Retailers now view their companies as tech-forward early adopters, up from one in eight prior to the pandemic.

The research is a follow up to a previous study conducted by Panasonic shortly before the coronavirus outbreak. In late 2019, Panasonic conducted a food industry pulse survey in association with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. The survey found that more than half of Food Services and Food Retail executives believed that transformational technologies enabled them to attain a significant competitive advantage. As the new study shows, businesses within the industry now see an urgent need to rapidly adapt to changing customer behavior and demands.

“Undoubtedly, the food services and food retail industry saw many challenges this year. At the same time, many operations from grocery and convenience stores to restaurants, were able to transform in real-time to quickly meet consumers’ needs,” said Lauren Sallata, Chief Marketing Officer, Panasonic Corporation of North America. “Agility has become essential to business success, and digital technology adoption the major enabler. The urgency to advance health and safety and consumer convenience is fast-tracking innovation to organizational business models in the industry.”

Key findings:

  • 100% of the survey respondents said COVID-19 has increased the urgency to adopt transformational technologies
  • 85% have experienced what they consider to be a very large impact on their business as a result of health and safety concerns
  • 71% cited digital transformation as very important to business agility, more than any other factor
  • 78% indicated that contactless payments are in much greater demand, resulting in the adoption of a number of solutions including food lockers for pick-up, facial recognition kiosks, and vehicle/license plate recognition
  • 53% believed their customers are more willing to opt-in to personally-identifiable recognition technologies for the sake of convenience and personal safety

The survey respondents believe many of these behavior shifts propelled by the pandemic will last for at least the next 12 months or more. With consumers motivated by a new set of priorities – such as safety, self-service and preferred delivery methods – businesses must rethink the way they do business and experiment with new ways to meet changing demands. 

Methodology

This research was commissioned by Panasonic Corporation of North America and was fielded via an online survey from August 17 to 31, 2020. The survey included 150 Food Services & Food Retail decision makers (120 in the U.S., 30 in Canada). The respondents included 89 restaurants (28 QSR, 28 fast casual, 27 full-service, 6 corporate/institutional); and 61 retailers (47 grocers, 14 convenience stores). All respondents were at director level or higher and involved in decisions for either operational technology (POS, IOT devices, handheld devices/tablets, interactive kiosks, restaurant automation and operation solutions, drive-thru solutions, mobile apps) or food storage and display (refrigeration, display cases, smart shelving). 

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About Panasonic Canada Inc.
A subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, Panasonic Canada Inc. provides a broad line of digital and other electronics products and solutions to meet consumer, business and industrial needs. Consumers seeking more information on the company’s products can visit Panasonic’s home page at Panasonic.com.

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