Category Archives: Grocery shopping trends

Study Predicts Increased Investment for Online Grocery

A recent SupermarketNews article reported the “digital sector” will continue to grow in 2023.

“Grocery operators’ spending to support digital transactions will increase by 2.3% next year despite a 1% shrinkage in technology budgets,” the article said, citing an October report from Grocery Doppio, a grocery insights and data provider. ,

Other findings:

  • 23% of grocers plan to increase their technology spend on digital in 2023
  • 77% said fulfillment efficiencies will be among the three most popular investments
  • 67% identified digital basket size nurturing would be a focus
  • 55% said system-wide inventory data accuracy/transparency would be a priority

Read the full article…

Inventory Issues Costing Supermarkets Dearly

SupermarketNews recently reported that, despite internal systems improvements, retailers continue to struggle with labor and supplier issues, costing North American supermarkets over $349 billion in total sales lossesmdue to out-of-stocks and overstocks.

Reports of consumer discontent are common, with shoppers claiming one-out-of-five items they want to buy are out-of-stock according to new research from analyst firm IHL Group the article said.

“While there have been considerable improvements in systems and processes in recent years, labor challenges and continued supply chain disruptions issues continue to frustrate both consumers and retailers,” said Greg Buzek, President of IHL Group. “In addition, challenges from theft, mistakes by employees, and spoilage cause retailer’s inventory counts to be off as much as 25%, resulting in consumers having a shopping experience where they left the stores without buying 1 in every 5 items they planned to buy.”

Ouch!

You can read the full article here.

PBH to Connect Produce Industry With Retail Dietitians, Foodservice Leaders

According to a recent Progressive Grocer article, the  Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) will bring a number of retail dietitians and foodservice leaders to its 2022 Retail & Foodservice Immersion Event in October.

Adding a new twist to past practices, PBH will “include a group of foodservice leaders to further support the produce industry’s need to meet consumers where they are influenced to choose fruits and vegetables at the point of purchase.”

Retail and foodservice leaders will also have access to the latest produce innovations and new consumer research, along with tools to spur new fruit and vegetable consumption habits among customers.

“PBH is thrilled to be back in person supporting one of the industry’s largest trade shows, as well as connecting produce companies directly with consumers through the various points of influence – including at the point-of-sale (retail) and at the point-of-flavor (culinary and foodservice),” noted Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, president and CEO of Brentwood, Mo.-based PBH, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. “The goal of this signature PBH event is to provide retail and foodservice leaders with actionable education and intimate networking experiences that inspire them to get creative with fruits and vegetables and take back ideas and solutions that help drive produce consumption and purchases in their stores, in e-commerce and in dining establishments nationwide.”

Participating retailers are:

  • Big Y Foods
  • Coborn’s, Fresh Thyme
  • The Giant Co.,
  • Harmons Grocery Stores
  • H-E-B
  • The Kroger Co.
  • Loblaws
  • Natural Grocers
  • Rouses, ShopRite-Inserra Supermarkets Inc.
  • Stop & Shop
  • United Supermarket
  • Wegmans Food Markets
  • Weis Markets

Read the full article…

USDA Supporting SNAP Online Grocery Shopping

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is launching a $5 million competitive grant program to help expand the number of retailers that offer recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits online grocery shopping.

Retailers will need to apply to participate in the program, which will provide support with the “technology and systems necessary to enable SNAP e-commerce,” the article said.

The piece went on to explain the objective is to give SNAP participants access a larger diversity of retailers while shopping for groceries online, according to a source at the USDA. The grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan stimulus legislation, enacted last year.

The article then quoted Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at USDA, who released a statement saying, “Online grocery shopping is a vital resource that improves access and convenience for all, including low-income families. We are excited about this grant’s potential to provide new and existing retailers with tools to redeem SNAP benefits in ways that improve customer service for SNAP participants, especially those that face barriers in traveling to a physical store.”

Read the full article…

Retail Grocery Predictions

A recent article published by Progressive Grocer predicts some big changes will take place within the retail food industry this year.

“We believe we’re in for the biggest shift in retail history, revolving around the dramatic change to digital mindsets,” the article said.

“The most important things in retail will become even more important. The things that have always been important to retailers — convenience, value and personalization — will continue to matter. In fact, they’ll matter more than ever. However, the ways that retailers deliver on those three core ideas is ripe for innovation.”

Their predictions for 2022 include:

  • The hybrid in-store and online model will continue to explode because it delivers convenience for shoppers.
  • Bundling will need to be redefined to offer even larger value to customers.
  • Personalized white-glove service will have to expand beyond the in-store experience.
  • As digital transformation accelerates, measuring results is going to become increasingly important.

Read the full article…

The Evolution of Online Grocery Shopping

A recent SupermarketNews article shared insights into how the dynamics of the online grocery market have changed.

Not only are more shoppers using online grocery options than before COVID, but they are also split in which “type” of online platform they prefer.

This nuance bodes well for how conventional grocers can strengthen their online grocery services to improve performance, because it turns out they aren’t really competing with the mass merchandisers who are far more developed in executing their respective online strategies and who operate on a much larger scale.

“We know from Brick Meets Click’s monthly e-shopper research that today’s shoppers choose to place online grocery orders with mass merchandisers for very different reasons than when they choose to place online orders with conventional grocers,” the article said. “In this context, mass rivals are not conventional grocers’ most meaningful competitor.”

A few additional data points from their research that conventional retailers should consider include:

  • In 2019, stores that had operated an online grocery service for a longer period of time reported higher weekly sales. This correlation no longer exists. COVID has changed the circumstances that drive adoption and usage.
  • The impact of a store’s service area population has also shifted. In 2019, stores in the largest markets generated the highest level of weekly sales; today, stores in mid-sized markets reported the strongest sales. In high-population areas, there is simply more competition for online grocery spending than there used to be. This makes it harder to grow without expanding in other ways.
  • Offering customers a choice between pickup and delivery instead of just one option continues to have a significant impact on sales.

Necessity & invention

As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

A good example involves the impact COVID has had on product sampling, a long-standing practice in supermarkets that came to a screeching halt due to concerns about safety.

“While some retailers and shoppers may be dipping back into onsite product sampling, the ongoing uncertainty about COVID-19 and the continual emergence of variants have put a proverbial crimp in plans to fully bring it back,” said Senior Editor Lynn Petrak in a recent Progressive Grocer article.

The good news is that digital product sampling platform Sampler has stepped in to bridge the gap through a newly-formed partnership with grocery wholesale distributor UNFI to send product samples right to consumers’ homes.

Users can create an account on the Sampler platform and identify preferred products, and then UNFI handles the delivery.

“UNFI sells over 275,000 unique products from thousands of national, regional and local suppliers,” explained company President Chris Testa. “Working with Sampler, we can help deliver a solution for brands wanting to generate greater trial and consumer awareness for their products.”

Another good example of improving the customer experience through innovation and resiliency!

Amazon Reduces Waste with New ‘Curbside Recyclable’ Delivery Packaging

SupermarketNews recently reported that Amazon has unveiled a new sustainable food packaging solution for the point of delivery.

The article referenced a statement from Stephenie Landry, vice president of Amazon Grocery, indicating perishables deliveries from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market now will come in “curbside recyclable” insulated paper packaging.

“Rolling out just in time for Thanksgiving, Amazon’s new packaging is made from recycled paper and is curbside recyclable. Whether customers are ordering turkey, green beans, or frosty pints of ice cream, chilled and frozen foods from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market will arrive insulated in packaging that is easy and convenient for customers to recycle at home.”

As part of Amazon’s overall sustainability effort, they say the new packaging will replace of the plastic liners and bubble bags that are often used to insulate chilled and frozen items. It will also cut back on material waste they claim, replacing about 735,000 pounds of plastic film, 3.15 million pounds of natural cotton fiber and 15 million pounds of non-recyclable mixed plastic annually.

Key considerations in developing the new packaging included sending less material to landfills and more back into the circular economy loop while ensuring that the insulated material properly chilled the food inside and was compact, flexible, easily recyclable, inexpensive and scalable, according to a company spokesperson.

5 Grocery Trends in 2021

The grocery business has been, as we all know, greatly impacted by the pandemic and shifts in consumer shopping habits and demand. The return of more grocery shoppers in-store has retailers breathing a sigh of relief, but supply chain issues and the associated challenges of getting stock into the store are concerning.

SupermarketNews recently published a report listing five key trends that have emerged this year:

  1. Fresh is back on track! With bakery and deli sections reopening and rebounding, things look bright on the perimeter.
  2. Supply chain issues linger, impacting center store most and increasing the likelihood of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) out of stocks.
  3. Beverage sales are up, with single-serve beverages making a comeback as consumers resume their more active lifestyles.
  4. Snacks have become more popular as all-day noshing buoys the category both in-store and online. It seems younger consumers are more likely to snack for lunch.
  5. Wellness and weight control have had a positive impact on demand for vitamins and supplements, but flu remedies are lagging.

Stockpile Alert?

A recent SupermarketNews article shared the results of Inmar Intelligence research that warned retailers and consumers alike that we could be in for another wave of consumer stockpiling.

With COVID-19 infection rates climbing and mounting concerns about the Delta variant, a surprising number of people are fearing the worst.

Of 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed by Inmar, 69.4% said they’re considering replenishing a current stockpile of groceries and other essential products as transmission of the Delta variant increases.

Forty-six percent have already created a product stockpile in response to coronavirus, and 12% of those that haven’t done so said they now will stock up because of the Delta variant.

Another 32.8% said they’re not sure if they will build up their supplies.

Interestingly, sixty percent of consumers polled reported still having products in stockpile they created because of the COVID-19 outbreak! And sixty-five percent said they now plan to always have a stock of food and supplies for emergencies like the pandemic.

If these projections should prove to be accurate, grocery shopping trends could very well shift back to what we experienced at the height of the pandemic, which included larger average order size and an influx in online transactions.