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Groceryshop 2021 Event Recap

RETHINK Retail headed to sunny Las Vegas on September 19-22 to attend our first event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear what grocers, CPG brands and vendors have learned over the last 18 months in our Groceryshop 2021 recap video.

Featured in video:

  • Joe Laszlo, VP of Content at Shoptalk
  • Mike Fogarty, Founder & CEO of Choice Market
  • Jared Blank, CMO at VTEX – North America
  • Kevin Coupe, Author, ‘The Content Guy’ at Morning News Beat
  • Ben Jones, Founder & CEO at Ohi
  • Julie Rodgers Vargas, VP of Commercial, N.A. at Avery Dennison
  • Diana Medina, VP of Retail Transformation at Inmar Intelligence


Joe Laszlo:
Groceryshop is the leading event focused on grocery and CPG innovation. We’re a three-and-a-half-day conference located in Mandalay Bay in beautiful Las Vegas. We didn’t have a Groceryshop in 2020 for obvious reasons, and so it was incredibly important to us to get this industry back together in person this year, assuming that we could do it safely.

Joe Laszlo:
I think the industry, grocery and CPG both have been through a hell of a year, a ton of change. For some companies in this industry, it’s been the best year they’ve ever had; but that comes in the midst of tremendous personal and professional challenges, hardships, and of course, all of the suffering that’s come with the pandemic.

Joe Laszlo:
We launched a new track at Groceryshop this year called our workshop track. These are designed to be a little bit smaller and a lot more tactical than your typical track at a conference. Think one speaker who’s an analyst or a consultant, one speaker who’s from a retailer or a consumer packaged goods company really diving deep into a topic and giving the audience really … We like to call it news you can use, really takeaways that they can take back to their companies and teams. It’s been really interesting to watch the speakers prepare for these sessions. They really are bringing their all to them.

Joe Laszlo:
Also, I think we’ve sparked some really great professional friendships as well. The speakers seemed to be really hitting it off, and that reflects in the content and the quality of the learning that they’re able to give to the audience

Mike Fogarty:
I’m here at Groceryshop, and I think we’re seeing a couple different key themes around convenience, around e-commerce, and digital enablement.

Mike Fogarty:
It’s been a tough 18, 24 months for everybody. I think being here at Groceryshop’s been such an awesome and positive experience to reconnect with colleagues, with vendors, with potential vendors, with peers. It’s really an awesome experience.

Jared Blank:
We are here at Groceryshop in Las Vegas, and we are talking about the grocery industry. Let’s start really high level. What is keeping grocers up at night?

Ben Jones:
COVID has caused this paradigm shift in consumer expectations. It used to be that consumers were happy buying things online and getting them in two days, aligning with the Amazon two-day promise. But now with COVID, consumers now really are expecting things instantly.

Julie Rodgers Vargas:
It’s a consumer-driven world. So one of the hardest things right now is not only creating that in-store experience in a way that is profitable and also focused on food safety and assortment, but then also catering to the advent of omnichannel retail that has accelerated significantly in the past year.

Diana Medina:
With the growth of e-commerce and with the exponential increase in activity through digital channels, they now need to refocus on not just establishing an online presence, but figuring out how they grow and sustain that presence. Because the customer is demanding more convenience and more access to products across multiple channels, but they need to be looking at the bottom line.

Diana Medina:
Then another thing that comes with digital growth is the need for us to find new avenues and new ways to engage the CPG community.

Joe Laszlo:
I think the buzzword of the show, just based on what people were talking about on the main stage, is convenience, but not convenience just in terms of making things faster for the consumer, but making things faster and … faster and more personalized, faster and exactly what you want. I think that’s something this whole industry is going to be focused on going forward.

Joe Laszlo:
As we were going into Groceryshop, I joked with some of my coworkers that this was going to be group therapy session for the industry. I’m really happy that that’s not what it’s like. Therapy always feels like you’re working through your problems. This is much more a celebration to me. This is an industry that has been through tremendous challenges and yet has come through on the other side far, far stronger, far more adept and flexible than it was a year and a half ago. That’s definitely a reason to celebrate