A new service launching next year could spell the end for supermarkets as it allows you to buy direct from wholesale firms.
The service has already seen major suppliers like Unilever and Mars sign up, and we'll see a pilot scheme running in 2018.
How it will work
Customers can find products through a portal and buy them directly from the manufacturers. They’ll then be sourced from a network of warehouses and sent to you by a delivery driver.
You’ll be charged the wholesale price for items – which is usually far cheaper than the retail price – and a ‘logistics’ fee to cover storage and transportation.
These costs will likely make up around 10%-15% of the value of an average weekly shopping basket.
If you bought products in the supermarket you’d be paying more to cover the costs involved in running the store, potentially adding an extra 50% on to the cost of your items.
The service will use ‘blockchain technology’ which connects with shoppers directly, meaning that you'll still get loyalty rewards tailored to what you buy.
Supermarkets negotiate prices of goods with the manufacturers, whereas the new service will let the manufacturers pick their own prices so they may charge higher wholesale prices than supermarkets will accept.
But don’t worry, you’ll still be getting a cheaper price as a shopper.
Does it fit with the changing nature of grocery shopping?
Despite lowering costs, this new service might not be compatible with the way we shop now.
A new report which says that we’re ditching big weekly shops in favour of smaller ‘as and when’ shops.
The Waitrose Food and Drink Report 2017, which looks at shopping habits across all supermarkets, says that two-thirds of us go to the supermarket more than once a day and one in 10 people decide what to buy for an evening meal on the way home from work.
This helps them avoid over-buying in order to waste less food.
This has been helped along by longer opening hours and more convenience stores.
That said, online delivery services from supermarkets are still popular, so this new service might be more suitable for your store cupboard shop.