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The role of Swedish retailers in food innovations

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Innovations should create value for increasingly individualistic consumers with varying demands and for other stakeholders. Today, retailers have the power in the supply/value chain. This research investigates how Swedish food retailers view innovations, their role and that of customers and suppliers in the development process and how they see future development. The study is based on open-ended interviews. The results show that Swedish retailers regard food product innovations as something to provide to consumers rather than achieve with consumers. Retailers want more collaboration with packaging suppliers to differentiate. Retailers are successful in establishing their own brands, in becoming brands themselves and in competing with producer brands. This follows the UK model and may result in fewer alternatives in stores and fewer product - or new technology-based innovations by Swedish producers. Service innovations can still occur for retailers to retain consumer loyalty. Consumers demand more than new products; they want to be excited by the shopping experience. More innovations will require deeper insight about consumers, efforts from the value chain and from outsiders. Collaboration is needed to establish trust among supply chain actors.

Keywords: UK retail; brands; food development; food producer; supply/value chain

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Design Sciences, Division of Packaging Logistics, Lund University, Sweden

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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