Regardless of the animal proteins produced, your products probably reach the consumer through a supermarket. The multiple-chain food retailers now account for most sales of meat, eggs, fish and milk in a growing number of countries. 

Their international influence is still a relatively recent phenomenon. Go back about 20 years and although supermarkets were already widespread in Europe and North America, they hardly existed in several parts of Asia and Latin America. During the past two decades, multiple-chain supermarkets’ share of urban food retailing in a country such as Chinahas gone from practically zero to more than 60 percent. 

But, the worldwide boom in the reach of the supermarket operators may prove to be only the start of the story. The multi-national corporations that own many of the retail chains are beginning to re-invent their store formats. As a result, the store of the future could be less like a traditional supermarket and more like a shopping mall.

This is because, looking ahead, it is not impossible that the chains will become franchising operations by allowing their food suppliers to rent a section of the store area. In appearance, the outlet would resemble a series of separate shops for different traders, each selling directly to the public while relying on the supermarket to take care of advertising and brand identity to maximize the number of shoppers.

One incentive for such a development is that the supermarket chains regard food sales as only one part of their total activity and dislike being held responsible for ensuring food safety. Having franchise-style store layouts allows them to pass the responsibility back to the supplier of the food, who is also now the seller to the consumer.    

The business model is closer to reality than you might imagine. We know from early moves that the established retailers want to add café and restaurant areas within the layout of larger stores. They aim to enrich the total shopping experience, also by having a greater diversity of goods and not just grocery items.

There are further seeds of it in the way that shelf space is allocated already to certain products and in agreements by retailing multiples to extract value from their property assets. They do so by selling slices to joint venture operations, in which they themselves may hold a large share. The stores then pay rent to the land owner, who is usually not the supermarket’s partner in store operation.

Stand by for another retail revolution, therefore, and one which will have a direct impact on how your animal proteins are purchased. It could be a big opportunity for any producer with the size and resources to take advantage of it. 

For example, imagine being both the supplier and the retailer of your meat products by having your own sales area in a supermarket that resembled a series of outlets in a food hall instead of the lines of aisles seen in stores today. Your sales should gain from the footfall traffic of the total complex, and yet you have the chance to create your own identity --- and have more control over the vital aspects of price, display, product description, information and promotion.