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Grocery Stores Losing Fresh Market Share

CHICAGO — Grocery stores will lose market share of fresh foods to supercenters and club stores by 2016, according to a new report from Nielsen Perishables Group.

“Why Retailers Are Keeping It Fresh: Fresh Foods Not Spoiled by Inflationary Heat” predicts the portion of consumer dollars spent on fresh will fall 2 percentage points at grocery stores to 64%. At the same time, warehouse clubs will gain 2% to reach 12% market share and mass/supercenters will rise 1% for 15% of the total.

“Fresh as a commodity market is changing and can no longer just rely on strategies that are determined by supply and commodity prices,” Bruce Axtman, president, Nielsen Perishables Group, said in the report. “Suppliers and retailers are slowly but surely transitioning to the consumer packaged goods style of category management based on the knowledge of both consumer and performance data to better understand how various consumer groups purchase fresh foods differently, at which stores, and at what price points.”

The report also found that fresh foods account for 29% of total store sales. Meat contributes the most to the fresh total at 39%, followed by produce at 32%. Seafood makes up just 5% of fresh food sales.

In North America, “good value” is the most important factor for consumers in all fresh categories except produce, where “fresh selection” tops the list.

Compared to the rest of the world, U.S. consumers shop for fresh foods far less often — about 1.4 times per week, versus the global average of 2.5 times per week.

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