From the Financial Times this morning:
"Some of the world's biggest food brands are realising long-held ambitions to sell directly to consumers in the pandemic, using coronavirus disruption to sidestep retailers. PepsiCo started selling boxes of snacks and drinks, including Tropicana fruit juice, Cap'n Crunch cereal and Quaker granola bars, this month on its PantryShop site, which ships to any zip code in the contiguous US. A sister site, Snacks.com, allows online shoppers to pick from more than 100 Frito-Lay products, such as Doritos crisps and Tostitos tortilla chips.
"In the UK, Kraft Heinz began delivering bundles of its eponymous canned food and sauces about six weeks ago. The prospect of cutting out supermarkets might seem like a big prize for food manufacturers: the absence of a middleman should mean they can retain the profits themselves. However, like most grocery delivery ventures, the sites are not expected to make money. Executives behind them say they have no ambition to replace retailers on a substantial scale any time soon.
"Instead, they are using the initiatives to learn first-hand what works and what does not in ecommerce, and to gather valuable data about customers that are normally captured by retailers."
- KC's View:
It has long been the view here that if given the opportunity, a lot of manufacturers would love to find ways to disintermediate traditional retailers. They won't replace retail, but they certainly can supplement it in effective ways, establish more direct relationships with shoppers, and maybe even nibble away at market share a bit.
Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it can't.