Unilver & Mars step into direct-to-consumer

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Unilever

Grocers could soon be under threat after wholesale giants Unilever and Mars signed up to a new digital shopping service to sell their brands direct to consumers.

The new digital grocery service, which is designed by tech firm INS, claims it could cut grocery bills by 30 per cent as it allows wholesalers to sell directly to consumers, without having to deal with grocery retailers as the “middleman”.

INS has confirmed that the three wholesale giants have formally signalled their intention to sell through the platform, which could launch in the UK as early as next year.

This could mean that popular household grocery products from Marmite, Hellmann’s, PG Tips, Dolmio, Uncle Ben’s or Whiskas could be sold online by suppliers at a cheaper rate than what is offered at supermarkets.

“The grocery industry in its current shape is inefficient and controlled by retailers,” INS co-founder and chief executive Peter Fedchenkov said.

“For example, in the UK, there are over 7000 manufacturers and 25 million households dependent on four key grocery retailers controlling 76 per cent 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 added that any manufacturer would be able to list and sell products on the platform.

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