From wellness to fresh foods, speakers at FMI Connect and co-located United Fresh in Chicago last month hit on numerous key themes for the industry. Following are five insights that can boost ROI:
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers view food as medicine, as the wellness trend gains more momentum, according to a new survey from Organic Life magazine in partnership with FMI. This trend is leading to more reformulations of traditional products and requires retailers and manufacturers to offer more guidance to shoppers.
Citing FMI Trends data on the importance of health and wellness, Leslie Sarasin, the association’s president and CEO, said food retailers are already seen as “trusted allies on the food chain for health.” She added, “This is a point we should not only celebrate, but also is a strength we must amplify.”
There’s more runway for private label growth as Millennials increase their spending power. This generation already devotes more of its basket to private label compared to Gen X or Boomers, said Megan Margraff of Oracle Data Cloud. “We think there’s an opportunity to really take private label programs and tailor them more to the unique needs of the Millennial shopper,” she said.
A big part of this is creating offerings that represent value but aren’t necessarily geared to deal-chasers, added Angela Myers of Oracle Data Cloud. Another opportunity for private brand growth is to study recent innovative product launches by European retailers to examine how they can be adapted for local U.S. markets, observed Lynn Dorblaser, director, innovation and insight, Mintel International.
Supermarkets need to work hard to deliver on the needs of male shoppers, said Robert Irvine, chef, restaurateur and Food Network star. “Males have no patience, but they want to look like superheroes to their wives and girlfriends,” he said. So the solution is to make it easier for them to shop and cook, he added.
Even celebrities are willing to share the spotlight with their teams. “Don’t be afraid to let the people working in your stores be the stars,” said Mario Batali, celebrity chef and restaurateur. “That will help to ensure that store teams and customers regularly interact with each other.”
H-E-B COO Craig Boyan urged retailers to invest in their people with better wages. He said real hourly wages in retail have declined from more than $10 in 1973 to $8 today.
It doesn’t matter what type of store format you have. Having a robust fresh component is the key to attracting changing consumers, according to speakers at United Fresh. Qik-n-EZ Convenience Stores, based in central Illinois, has embraced fresh foods in a move that’s differentiated it from competitors. “It’s not what people used to think about c-stores,” said Andrew Lunt, director of merchandising and sales.
Ahold USA’s newest store formats, which include bfresh, have put fresh first, and they expect suppliers to understand how shoppers are changing, said Paul Kneeland, VP of fresh merchandising for the Fresh Formats unit. “I want a produce supplier that knows my consumer,” he said.
|Suggested Categories||More from Supermarket News|