Food manufacturers are increasingly looking at selling their products directly to consumers via online e-stores, new research claims.

An IGD poll found 27% of manufacturers would consider setting up an e-commerce platform to target shoppers directly.

The finding comes after Heinz last week said it had sealed a Facebook first by offering groceries via the ubiquitous social networking site. It is offering 3,000 bottles of its limited edition Balsamic Vinegar Ketchup to Facebook ‘fans’ of the brand.

In a separate finding, the IGD said online grocery sales would double over the next four years. It claimed online sales would grow to £9.9bn by 2015, up from £4.8bn last year.

More than half (59%) of shoppers polled cited delivery charges as the main obstacle to them shopping online.

Underlining the shift online, Morrisons today announced that it had bought a 10% stake in US online grocer FreshDirect in a move designed to boost its own expertise of internet retailing.

That followed its £70m purchase last month of online baby goods seller Kiddicare.

Read more
Morrisons buys stake in online grocer as annual profits grow 13% (10 March 2011)
C-stores ‘stuck in the past’ say shoppers (5 March 2011)
Like this? Heinz scores a Facebook food sale first (4 March 2011)