The way people buy food is changing. Supermarkets are no longer just a place to stock-up on staples, but a destination for a culinary experience, and c-stores and dollar stores are now common places to purchase groceries and not just snacks, according to a report by Senior Editor Charlotte Atchley in the March issue of Baking & Snack.
She reported that people are looking for convenience, freshness and quality, and it’s altering the way people interact with the places they purchase food. Among c-stores, dollar stores, drug stores, supermarkets, Nielsen reported that only c-stores and dollar stores grew in number of locations from 2016 to 2017 with 0.3% and 5.2% growth, respectively.
Jeanne Danubio, executive vice-president, retail for lead markets at Nielsen, attributed this to c-stores’ innovation and investments in food purchases. In more traditional retail outlets such as supermarkets, Nielsen’s research showed that sales at brick-and-mortar center stores declined in the 52 weeks ended July 1, 2017.
Most of the growth in supermarkets wasn’t driven by center aisle sales but the perimeter, a trend in place for years. Sales for supermarket fresh categories were up 0.6% while dollar sales for center store were down 0.9%. In this shifting landscape, it can be difficult to leverage these outlets for the best opportunity at growth.
“There doesn’t seem to be any singular channel knocking it out of the park, but there are pockets of strength in each major channel,” observed Wade Hanson, principal, advisory practice, Technomic. “This emphasizes to us the need for channel and account prioritization more than ever.”
It seems that consumers desire for “channel surfing” goes way beyond television, cable and Netflix.