The supermarket & grocery industry: Who will dominate the future marketplace?

Open Access
Weinhold, Zach Michael
Area of Honors:
Supply Chain and Information Systems
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Robert Novack, Thesis Supervisor
  • John Spychalski, Honors Advisor
  • Groceries
  • Business
  • Supermarket
  • Supply Chain Management
Traditionally, grocery shopping could be a tiring, stressful, or mentally draining process. Today, grocery shopping can be as easy as clicking a button. Modern day consumers can grocery shop on their cell phone or laptop and have groceries delivered to their doorstep. Walmart is even piloting a direct-to-fridge grocery service where a Walmart employee will deliver groceries to a customer’s home and put all their groceries away in their kitchen. Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery company that has grown to a $2B valued company in just three years. Amazon recently acquired Whole Foods and solidifies the fact that omni-channel grocery fulfillment is now standard across the industry; the grocery and supermarket industry is experiencing a time of unprecedented innovation and competition, and is changing the way consumers can grocery shop. This thesis provides an overview of industry trends, opportunities, challenges, and issues. It also includes a business model analysis of six unique companies competing within the industry. The purpose of this thesis is to predict which companies will dominate the future marketplace. To properly evaluate these companies a framework was created and used to equally measure all six companies selected. Each company’s business model analysis highlights the company’s respective product offerings, in-store services, fulfillment models, loyalty programs, and other competitive advantages; the culmination of this information was used to reveal which specific companies are best prepared to compete in the future marketplace. Additionally, a chapter is dedicated to discuss Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. This chapter will reveal why this acquisition happened, how both companies will benefit from the partnership, and how the acquisition may disrupt the entire industry. This thesis will conclude by discussing why Walmart, Aldi, Kroger, Amazon and Whole Foods will dominate the future marketplace.