The Future of Food Retail

Innovations in food retail are continuing their growth towards the exciting and impactful. Developments are focusing, among others, on sustainability and the retail possibilities of new technology! With our Business Innovation Travel programs, you will get the opportunity to see some of these innovations first-hand, and to share in the inspiration and lessons learned from their creators.

Key Trends

Some of the key trends we’re seeing in food retail innovation are thanks to exponential advances in technology. For example, the use of scanners, computer algorithms and AI to move bricks-and-mortars stores to ‘cashierless’ models. Companies are also finding ways to use technology to provide consumers with streamlined shopping experiences where they can access a variety of brands and product ranges all in one go, from one platform.

Advances in agricultural technology are also introducing new supplier models to the market. Companies are finding ways to farm in densely populated urban areas, providing products ranging from heart-healthy produce, all the way through to red wines! Naturally, these new agriculture methods also provide an opportunity to experiment with the conditions products are grown in, thereby adapting product tastes and textures.

Sustainability is also an ongoing objective for many retailers. Large retailers are expanding their business models to become fully-verticalised operations, allowing them to retain control over their product quality and community and environmental impacts too.

Sample Innovations

  • Historic New York City pizza maker Totonno has switched from its freshly-made pizza model to selling its pizzas frozen and extending its reach to a national level.
  • Supplier innovation can be seen in supermarket Ametller in Barcelona, Spain, which is operating as a fully verticalized supermarket, running its own farms and centralized kitchen to produce its own packaged products. It’s verticalized model is supported by the use of AI to forecast product demand and replenishment.
  • Another supplier, Fraîche, in New York City is bringing the farm to the office by providing smart fridges for office spaces that are stocked with ‘farm fresh’ items, including both whole foods and items produced by them.
  • Streamlining of in-store shopping can be seen at Sainsbury’s in the UK which uses ‘scan and bag’ technology to ease congestion at checkout queues.
  • The move to cashierless shopping is evident with certain Amazon stores trialing ‘just walk out’ technology, in which a combination of cameras and software determine a customer’s purchases without the need to scan them.
  • Technology to minimize food waste is being used at Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn, which implements ‘dynamic discounting’ – each product has an electronic price tag and as the product nears expiration an algorithm calculates an optimal discount to encourage purchase and continually updates this.
  • Interesting examples of urban farming include Brooklyn Grange in New York City, which operates the world’s largest rooftop soil farms and grows thousands of pounds of organic produce each year.
  • Another great example of urban farming is Farmshelf, also a New York company, which creates smart, indoor farms for consumer end-use in the home – and provides consumers with materials and guidance.

Sample Destinations


The UK, and London in particular, are embracing innovation and exciting projects in food retail. Stores are opening – or, in the case of inventive gelateria, Gelupo, re-opening! – as shoppers embrace post-pandemic shopping. And many companies are capitalising on technology: Sainsbury’s UK has widely adopted its ‘scan and go’ technology in-store, Bloom & Wild uses technology to evaluate and reduce its carbon footprint, and Provenance works with food and drink brands to provide consumers with clear information about product origins and environmental and community impacts.

Sample Program: London

Day 1

Flight Oslo-London
DEP 07:40 ARR 09:20
Store Visits:
Sainsbury “Scan & Go”
Lidl (UK’s fastest-growing grocer with 7% of the market)
Meet with Lidl Executives
Check-in at hotel

Day 2

Check-out of Hotel
Visit to Wembley Park:
Amazon Fresh “Just Walk Out”
Street Food concepts at Box Park
Store Visits:
Whole Foods Market
Flight Oslo-London
DEP 17:30 ARR 20:40

New York

As you will have seen above, New York really is a hub for innovation in food retail. Whether it’s: discussing unique urban farming solutions with Farmshelf or Fraîche; learning about the challenges and opportunities of rooftop farming with Brooklyn Grange or Rooftop Reds, or understanding the unique possibilities of tech in agriculture with Japanese urban strawberry-grower Oishii, you’ll have many options to explore!

Sample Program: New York

Day 1

Flight Oslo-New York
DEP 10:45 ARR 13:25
Lunch at Smashburger Brooklyn
Check-in at Hotel
Store Visit: Wholefoods Brooklyn

Day 2

Store Visits:
New Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building
Wegmans Brooklyn Yards
Traders Joe Brooklyn
Workshop with Sharebite Team

Day 3

Market Tours with NY Food Retail Expert:
Smorgasburg Brooklyn
Meeting and workshop with Farmshelf team

Day 4

Store Visit: Lidl Grocery store
Visit of Fraîche start-up
Lunch at Totonno Pizza
Free time
Flight New York – Oslo
DEP 18:55 ARR 08:25(+1)

What Your Program Can Include

Every Business Innovation Travel program combines the best of our expertise in travel, business and entertainment.


Site Visits


Private Charter



How it Works

1. Get in Touch

You start by getting in touch with your idea or topic of interest.

2. Consultation

We will get a deeper understanding of your company's unique needs and requirements.

3. Preparation

We put together a tailored program of business activities, meetings, hotels, flights, meals and entertainment.

4. Travel

All you and your team need to do is show up at the airport: we do the rest!

The food retail industry is constantly applying new innovations, and there’s no shortage of projects and companies you can engage with. With A2D, we’ll take the time to understand your business needs and match you with the right projects that you can learn and share the most with.



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