Wholesale titan Unilever has signed up to a new shopping service to start selling their brands direct to consumers.
The business has reportedly penned an agreement to say they intend to start selling through a high-tech digital platform that is poised to be piloted next year.
The move would mean that hundreds of popular household products including Marmite, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and PG Tips, could be sold online by suppliers.
As first reported by The Telegraph, the grocery service, which is designed by tech firm INS, claims it could slash grocery bills by 30% by allowing suppliers to sell direct to consumers and set their own prices, rather than having to negotiate with grocery retailers.
It comes a month after INS first unveiled plans to build what it called “a decentralised grocery shopping ecosystem”.
“INS will adopt blockchain to cut the middleman – wholesalers and retail stores – to help consumers save up to 30% on grocery shopping”
Peter Fedchenkov, INS
INS revealed at the time it had secured a “non-binding memoranda of understanding” with Unilever, but the FMCG giant has now formally signalled its intention to trial selling through the platform.
Should it launch in the UK, the move would deal a potentially huge blow to grocery retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, which all sell a plethora of branded goods through their stores and online.
Peter Fedchenkov, co-founder and chief executive of INS, said: “The grocery industry in its current shape is inefficient and controlled by retailers.
“For example, in the UK, there are over 7,000 manufacturers and 25 million households dependent on four key grocery retailers controlling 76% of the market.
“INS will adopt blockchain to cut the middleman – wholesalers and retail stores – to help consumers save up to 30% on grocery shopping.”
INS said that any manufacturer would be able to list and sell products on the platform, gain customer feedback and reward loyal shoppers – in the same way the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s do through their Clubcard and Nectar schemes.