With all of the emphasis on the supermarket perimeter, Jolie Weber, chief executive officer of Wise Foods, posed a question that’s top of mind for many bakery and snack producers.
“Do you see in the industry that the center of the store is dead?” she asked a panel of experts during SNAC International’s annual Executive Leadership Forum.
“Absolutely not,” replied Karl Schroeder, president of the Seattle division for Albertsons Cos. “But I would put a couple asterisks by that, which is it’s not dying, but it’s certainly harder and there’s just a wash of change coming at retailers as it relates to center store.”
While the snack and packaged bread aisles in the center store remains an anchor for many of the nation’s top-selling brands and emerging better-for-you ones, sales in the supermarket perimeter continue to garner a greater amount of share and attracting key demographic groups such as millennials and baby boomers seeking premium products.
However, Mr. Schroeder cited a recent consumer survey that showed that the center store ranked slightly higher than the perimeter of “what makes you most loyal to the retailer that you shop at.” The results, he said, “kind of blew me away a little bit. You would just assume the opposite.”
Several factors affect center store sales, such as attractive displays, how convenient the store is laid out and if it has the products consumers need. Other panelists noted heightened brand building along with a resurgence of new product innovation also draws traffic to the center store. It’s good to hear it’s not dead yet. Actually, far from it. Maybe a little more creativity will bring center store back to its former self.