Citation Esbjerg L, Burt S, Pearse H & Glanz-Chanos V (2016) Retailers and technology-driven innovation in the food sector: caretakers of consumer interests or barriers to innovation?. British Food Journal, 118 (6), pp. 1370-1383. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-10-2015-0367
Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role that retailers play in innovation in the food sector.
Design/methodology/approach – Analysis is based on interviews with retailers and food suppliers from Belgium, Denmark and the United Kingdom.
Findings – The findings show that in different ways retailers act both as caretakers of consumer interests and as barriers to innovation. Retailers are not interested in new technologies per se, but whether new technologies and the products made using them provide clearly identifiable benefits to consumers. These products must carry minimum risk for the retailer and there is a clear need for benefits to be communicated in commercial rather than technological terms to both retailers and consumers.
Research limitations/implications – The main limitation is that the study is based on interviews with retailers and suppliers in three countries.
Practical implications – Food suppliers developing new products based on novel technologies need to identity and communicate clear benefits to consumers if their products are to be adopted by grocery retailers.
Originality/value – This paper extends our understanding of the important role that retailers play in the diffusion of new innovative food products, services and technologies to consumers.
Keywords Buyer-seller relationships; Consumer benefits; Diffusion of innovation; Food industry; New technology; Retailer adoption decision-making