I returned from this year’s “Chicken Marketing Seminar” hosted by the National Chicken Council with interesting insights that extend well beyond the meat case. Several speakers identified trends that affect everyone in the grocery channel. Here is a quick overview to whet your appetite:
- Traditional Grocery Losing Market Share Fast – This trend isn’t new, but the speed and size of the shift is startling. Specialty grocery stores are an exciting growth area, but the greatest competitors are actually drugstores, dollar stores, convenience stores. Small footprints, but many thousands of locations… Add online services like Amazon Fresh, Peapod, Costco.com – and you have nothing less than a paradigm shift in the works.
- HEALTHY Value & Convenience – Led by Millennials, Americans want it all. We are starting to rate value over price as the recession fades for many. Convenience grows even more important – as evidenced by the first trend above. But we also demand healthy options. Fresh foods are selling at higher rates, from fruits and vegetables to the meat case.
- More Savvy Consumers – Just as we see in other retail settings, a large percentage of consumers consult a mobile device while grocery shopping to better inform their buying decisions.
- Less Shopping, More Experience – Most consumers hate shopping, but they are responding to smaller stores, chefs, butchers, nutritional guidance (RDs), demonstrations, classes
- Cooking at Home on the Rise – Studies are beginning to show the pendulum swinging back towards Americans preparing more food at home and expressing a desire to become better cooks.
Listening to these experts, I can imagine a future where we keep a standing online order for the mundane staples, and we take the time to enjoy visits to various specialty stores. They become social, gathering spots and further blur the lines between shopping and entertainment.
While others reinforced these trends, I must give proper credit to two speakers in particular, Phil Lempert, Supermarket Guru, and Sherry Frey from Nielsen Perishables Group. As food marketers, we need to consider how to answer these trends — from packaging and promotions to building brand relationships with consumers in the new marketplace.