Today’s consumers are looking for products that feel customized to their individual needs and wants, whether that is convenience, health and wellness or a trendy flavor profile, according to Nielsen.
More and more, they are turning to the supermarket perimeter to find such products.
However, there is no easy, one-size-fits-all strategy for stocking items that touch on this trend, warned Jennifer Campuzano, director of fresh perishables at Nielsen.
“I think that to truly understand the personalization aspect, you need to understand the right products to carry by store. And to do that you need to understand who your customers are,” said Campuzano. “I don’t know that you can do this on a broad scale, because your customer base is going to change so much from store to store.”
Different types of consumers have different needs when it comes to personalization.
For example, Millennials are all about convenience, while smaller households seek out smaller pack sizes or different portion sizes.
Some consumers focus on health and wellness. “So they might want portion control or ingredient transparency, but it also needs to be convenient and easy to grab,” said Campuzano.
“And then of course we’ve got multicultural consumers that are impacting this trend with how and where they spend their money, and we’re seeing mainstreaming of different types of ethnic cuisines,” she added.
Personalization fits into all departments into the perimeter, from value-added produce and pre-marinated meat to individual dessert cakes and made-to-order deli meals.
Below are a few of the fastest growing categories that play to this trend.
Nielsen predicts the perimeter will continue to evolve as shoppers expect more customization.
In the produce department, customers might see more stores with a vegetable butcher.
“But the idea would be that you could go to a produce department and pick up your vegetables, drop them off, have them chopped and cut and diced, however you’re going to use them, finish your shopping and come back and pick them up,” said Campuzano.
Meat and seafood, where personalization has been slow to catch on, could cook pre-seasoned items for customers while they shop.
In the bakery, Nielsen envisions experiences like made-to-order chocolate dipped items.
“Some sort of dipped fruit or doughnuts, watching those live demonstrations and having more of that sort of experience to help drive that personalization and allow consumers to pick what they want,” said Campuzano.
Lastly, the deli department is the “powerhouse” for perishables and personalization, Campuzano said.
“Deli continues to evolve, so in our minds the sky’s the limit on what could happen there. We expect more variety, more opportunities, and maybe even some more in-store dining experiences.”