They say the only constant is change. Today, one of the biggest areas of change in retail sales is in the grocery store: the changing landscape of the retail supermarket and the changing purchasing behavior of shoppers. In the past, you could count on fairly distinct behavior from distinct demographic sets.
Not anymore. What millennials, Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers are looking for has collided in a fairly homogenous set of desires — fresh, natural, simple, organic, nutritious, good for you and convenient, just to name a few. And unfortunately, if you happen to be an iconic food company, you face even greater challenges because of a perceived legacy of massproduced, overly processed foods with labels a mile long containing words only a scientist could understand. No doubt, a movement is afoot. And some companies have been caught flat-footed.
In the past 2 years, food sales at the center of the store lost 1.6% share of total purchases, while the perimeter gained share.1 Over this same time period, the total volume of U.S. packaged food sales decreased by more than 1 percent each year.2 The same customers who used to rely on quick meal solutions and processed foods that could faithfully stand by in the pantry for months are now looking for fresh, all-natural, organic ingredients from local farms and businesses.
What does this mean for food companies, both large and small, with historic roots or in start-up mode? To remain competitive, they must change not only the way they make their food, but the way they present it and talk about it.