The American grocery store is moving online

The ingredients for tonight’s dinner may soon be coming to an app near you.

In a quarterly earnings call Tuesday, General Mills Senior Vice President of Sales Shawn O’Grady said that online food buying is taking off.

“E-commerce is the fastest growing food channel and our customers are testing a wide range of business and distribution models,” said O’Grady

Currently, online sales make up about 1 to 2% of total sales, he said, but in the next five years it should quadruple.

“If you said what does it look like out four or five years ahead, all the projections I’ve seen are in the 5% to 6% range. So it’s going to be a high growth area,” said O’Grady.

CEO Kendall Powell said that the US is actually lagging behind other markets in online sales, and the growth could be even higher.

“We have only to look at other markets where we do business like the UK and France where, for some of our categories our online sales are approaching 10%,” said Powell. “So it’s pretty clear that we’re going to move in that direction very rapidly in the US.”

In order to hit that level of sales, says O’Grady, General Mills’ major partners Amazon and need to offer an easier way for people to shop online.

“The piece that will really shift the U.S. landscape on e-commerce is one that moves from being single item search to being full basket, online search, which it has in the places Ken mentioned in Europe and other parts of the world,” said O’Grady. “And you can see that coming and so that’s why we expect the growth projections to materialise.”

With Amazon testing quick turnaround on orders and Google testing a food delivery service, the distribution piece of the puzzle may soon fall into place.

For now, both O’Grady and Powell said they were setting General Mills up for success by investing heavily in the online space.

General Mills is the maker of such brands as YoPlait yogurt, Cheerios cereal, and Häagen-Dazs ice cream. The company did $US4.21 billion in sales in the most recent quarter, a 1% decrease from the quarter before.

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