Online grocery shopping has grown 230% between February 1 through February 21, 2021—and experts predict the category will only continue to grow. But as consumers increasingly move their grocery routine online, their expectations of the overall shopping experience will change, and scrolling through thousands of products to find what they need will start to feel incompatible with other digital experiences. Which begs the question: What’s the future of grocery shopping?
Ben McKean, CEO of the AI-enabled grocery service Hungryroot, has experienced an astounding 7x growth in the past year, and today has reached a run-rate of $175 million, with continued growth each month. “We’re building an entirely new way to grocery shop that is more personal, convenient, and affordable. No longer will consumers have to walk the aisles browsing tens of thousands of products trying to determine which items will work best for them. Our AI-powered algorithm does the work for our customers by predicting groceries and recipes they’ll love based on their food preferences and overall goals,” said Ben McKean. “We’re offering a personalized service built around our belief that food is personal and deeply impactful to people’s daily lives. Hungryroot’s ongoing growth is a clear indicator that our shopping experience is resonating with customers nationwide.”
Hungryroot offers a unique shopping experience through its weekly at-home deliveries, driven by a smart algorithm that constantly adapts to customers’ needs. “Our goal is to make the entire grocery shopping process—from start to finish—as seamless and hassle free as possible. When a customer signs up, they take a survey about their eating habits, food preferences, family size and more, and Hungryroot’s algorithm suggests a weekly basket of groceries. Customers always have the option to edit their order or change their preferences at any time, and as customers engage with our service over time, our predictive model becomes more and more accurate,” McKean added. “Seventy two percent of groceries purchased through Hungryroot are recommended by our algorithm. As that number goes up, so does retention.”
McKean believes what makes Hungryroot unique is their data and brand. “The more customers, products, and recipes we add to our platform, the better our algorithm will be at connecting the right food with every customer, and the more convenient and delightful the customer experience becomes,” said McKean. “No other brand or company is offering the seamless experience to their customers that we are today. We’re creating a modern way to grocery shop—think Whole Foods meets Netflix meets Spotify.”
As for what’s next for the company? They’re continuing to build a service to bring grocery shopping into the twenty-first century. “Our current focus is on the customer and the engagement of our community. We’re continuing to optimize our data and algorithm further by rolling out greater controls and filters based on choices customers make while shopping with us,” added McKean.“In five years, it will seem crazy that we had to walk into a giant grocery store with an empty cart each week.”
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