Consumer Grocery Trends to Watch in 2015

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Marley Bathe

As identified by rising industry trends, the biggest factor that will affect Canadian grocery in 2015 is consumers taking the wheel. They’ll not only steer technology-enabled convenience initiatives to fit their busy lives, but demand a greater focus on health and wellness. Canadian shoppers will force grocers to reexamine what, where and how they sell, but also the magnitude of their brick and mortar locations. Finally, they will continue to endorse grocers who demonstrate sustainable business practices.

Five Trends to Watch in 2015

1. Food on the Move: Consumers are seeking greater convenience in food shopping and grocers will respond more robustly in 2015. Buying online and in-store pick-up grocery options will rise, following drive-through hot spots, and similar efforts grocers experimented with in 2014. An increase in convenience won’t only benefit remote shoppers. Following the success of online pickup lockers at public transit stations in Europe -- London Underground passengers placed 10,000 online grocery orders in the first 10 months that click-and-collect services were available in subway stations -- North American retailers are following suit. As well as, Instacart, the grocery delivery startup, projected its 2014 revenue would be upwards of $100 million -- 10 times more than it was in 2013. It’s not going to be long until Canadian grocery markets jump on the wagon.2. Smaller Stores: On-the-go convenience has replaced the all-in-one convenience mentality for Canadian grocery shoppers. More often today shoppers are making frequent trips to smaller stores, checking in and out quickly with ease. Today, small localized dollar stores are claiming half of these short shopping experiences -- compared to one-fourth of traditional grocers. The main takeaway? Conventional grocery stores are losing a large percentage of their market share to competing warehouses and smaller dollar stores.

How are Canadian grocers keeping up with the evolutionizing trends? They are retaliating with smaller footprints that offer curated shopping experiences and meal destination spots with specialized food and craft beers -- essentially, replacing the regular ol’ trip to the grocery store with an evening out on the town. As well as, developing small-format stores to condense the traditional shopping trip into a high-quality experience that is convenient for all customers. It’s been noted that busy young millennials are backing this new wave, as well as baby boomers who are tired of cooking for two. With that in mind, grocery market sales of prepared foods, which include in-store and take out dining, are also on the rise.3. Easily Accessible Meals: Consumers want to buy no-fuss meals -- think everyday dinner picnics -- or prepackaged kits containing all the ingredients and add-ons needed to cook a nutritious meal at home. This will develop new opportunities for local grocery markets, which have everything already in-store to create meal kits. This also opens the doors for online retailers to sell meal bundles.4. Health and Wellness: Millennials may have sparked the trend towards healthier foods, but Generation X and baby boomer shoppers will quickly join them. Shoppers will explore more fresh produce, meats and dairy products, while their distaste towards food labeling is likely to continue and drive down package food companies’ sales. Guided by in-store nutritionists, shoppers will look for fresher and healthier options, even on the go. Sales of fresh juices and pre-cut produce will continue to climb. Ready, fresh, now is on the minds of millennials looking for instant gratification in health, fresh alternatives that are also convenient. In addition, shoppers will expect their grocery markets to contribute a larger part in helping them achieve health and wellness goals.5. Green Grocery: From alternative refrigerants to energy conservation, grocery markets are seeking greater sustainability. Those that are looking to future-proof their business will choose low global warming potential refrigerants, like CO2, more frequently -- even ahead of regulatory requirements. They will also look into ways to consume less energy, such as putting doors on coolers and cases. Whole Foods leads the pack in this area, but you will see more grocers giving the environment a higher priority in business decisions. [1]

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Sources: [1] - Supermarket News

Graphics: Saskia Pomeroy