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Audio slideshow: Breaking down the 2015 Center Store Survey

Final photo courtesy of Hannaford. All other photos by Thinkstock.

SN’s annual Center Store Survey provides a look into this year’s consumer trends and market forces affecting the category. Here, Center Store Editor Carol Angrisani discusses some of the exclusive findings and provides tips for retailers.

For more research findings: Dollars and Cents: Survey of Center Store Performance

Reporting by Carol Angrisani. Video production by Liz Webber.


This is Carol Angrisani, Center Store Editor.

When asked how supermarkets can best fight competitors for center store sales, 21% of retailer respondents said they can do so by stocking locally produced groceries and other specialty products.

What’s more, more than half said they plan to update their private label offerings with locally produced and other specialty foods.

When we hear the term “local” foods, we often think of produce and other fresh foods. But retailers are also building their assortment of local center store items, such as jams, jellies and sauces.

One of the biggest obstacles is choosing how to define what’s local. Some retailers classify local as being 200 miles from farm to table. For others, it’s a greater or shorter distance. The definition should be clearly communicated to consumers in shelf signage and other advertising.

Another challenge is ensuring that local vendors can meet the requirements of supplying to a supermarket chain, including having UPC codes and avalidated shelf life.

Nearly two-thirds of retailer respondents said private labels make up a larger portion of consumers shopping baskets. The reason for this is that retailers have invested heavily in their private labels and have rolled out truly innovative products that tap into today’s consumer trends.

For example, Safeway has launched a high-protein frozen entrée line. It’s called “Eating Right for High Protein.” Each entrée has at least 20 grams of protein and less than 15 net carbs.

And Hy-Vee has introduced powdered peanut butter. Marketed under the Hy-Vee HealthMarket store brand, it’s made from peanuts that have been pressed to remove much of the oil and fats.

These kinds of products successfully differentiate retailers from the competition.

Twenty-two percent of retailer respondents said they will use nutrition and exercise programs to bolster their stores’ health and wellness positioning. These types of programs benefit retailers by positioning them as a trusted partner in managing a healthy lifestyle.

H-E-B, Homeland Stores, Hannaford, Hy-Vee and Giant Eagle are among the growing number of retailers that offer in-store fitness, weight loss and/or nutrition classes.

And Hannaford has set the bar high with its new Healthy Living Center, located inside one of its Albany stores. The 5,000-square-foot center offers group exercise, weight management programs and personal training. It is the result of a partnership between the retailer, the local YMCA and a health insurer.

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