Fresh foods keep in-store sales thriving, study says

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Fresh foods keep in-store sales thriving, study says

By Lauren R. Hartman - 06/19/2018

Fresh is where it’s at for food at retail. Fresh foods, which includes ready meals and meal kits, is a $177-billion market, according to market researcher Nielsen. The category drives 49 percent of dollar growth across fast-moving consumer goods categories at brick brick-and-mortar retail, the firm’s latest Total Consumer Report found. 

Despite the growth of e-commerce, the report revealed retailers looking for immediate growth opportunities shouldn’t ignore the brick-and-mortar store perimeter. The report noted fresh and perishable foods have generated sales nearly 14 times as high as all online food and beverage sales this year.

Past Nielsen studies discovered shoppers head to grocery stores up to three times a week, furthering fresh food item sales, which could be spotlighting deficiencies in center store aisles.  Supermarkets looking to grow fresh sales should look beyond a category-specific approach, and take a more holistic view that leverages marketing and merchandising chances across the produce, bakery, deli and meat departments, the report suggested.

However, the findings went on to say that today’s grocery environment is one in which shoppers have become “aisle agnostic.” Retailers and manufacturers have the chance to realign their approaches for growth and relevance based on how consumers experience grocery shopping occasions, as total food shoppers, it said. Despite the fresh craze, on-the-go fresh produce — pre-cut produce that has been portioned intentionally for snacking purposes — declined by nearly 2 percent in dollars and 6 percent in unit volume over the last year. This suggests that consumers either don’t like the extra packaging or feel they’re paying more for bite-sized fresh food portions, according to Nielsen.