“Functional foods for sure: In all categories and on every aisle, it seems folks want their food to do something more (food can’t just taste good anymore) … low or no calorie, enhanced vitamins or nutrients, protein or fiber boosts. You name the category and someone is trying to come up with the next functional enhancement.”
—Scott Owen, grocery merchandiser, PCC Natural Markets
Consumers aspire to eat more vegetables nowadays, yet prepping and preparing can be a significant barrier. Several grocers, such as H-E-B Central Market, are offering prepped/chopped/washed veggies that make preparation easier, while truly progressive grocers are offering vegetable breakdown or “butchery” for more arduous veggies while the customer shops (think butternut squash, artichokes, perfectly died sweet potatoes).
—Melissa Abbott, director of culinary insights, The Hartman Group
The flavor space is driven by experimentation with ethnicities other than American fare, Italian-American and standard Chinese. It’s wide-ranging and subtle, reflecting the more sophisticated palettes of consumers. There is new receptivity for Southeast Asian cuisine, dishes and flavors from the 40 countries “south of the border” of the U.S., Eastern European fare, and Middle Eastern offerings.
—Jay Jacobowitz, president, Retail Insights
We have been watching and investigating the reemergence of the interest in freshly made popcorn programs especially all the new varieties that are available. Variants such as small kernels with tiny hulls, to half-pops, to the tried and true standard flavors of regular movie theater butter flavored, to caramel corn, and various types of cheese corn.
—Lewis Shaye, VP, culinary concepts, Price Chopper
“As younger Millennial and GenZ consumers continue to patronize customizable, build-your-own restaurants, supermarkets can look toward incorporating customization into their fresh prepared food offering. ... A few examples include: salad bars incorporating tossing stations, the bakery deli building more custom and perhaps kiosk-driven sandwich preparation options and flatbread pizza stations that can produce custom topped pizza that fires quickly and creates a more customized individual experience.”
—Darren Tristano, EVP, Technomic
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