According to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “There is nothing permanent in the world except change.” When you try to look around you, time has proven that things evolve, circumstances change, and paradigms shift, giving life to new opportunities and innovations.
In industries such as food retail, changes are driven predominantly by shifting consumer lifestyles, wants, and needs. What brings consumers value, their demographics and cultural backgrounds, personal interests, and purchasing power are some of the elements that dictate the forces of change in the food retail industry. In the hopes of adapting to the constantly evolving behaviors of consumers, retailers are continuously adjusting their store offerings, as well as the store environment itself, to attempt to maximize the dollar spend of their loyal customers.
Here are some changes in consumer demands in food retail stores and their implications to retailers:
Smaller Household, Smaller Pack Size
Generational differences influence the shopping habits of consumers. Gone are the days when people want to have bigger families at a young age. Right now, boomers and millennials are focusing more on their careers and leisure times and are foregoing or delaying getting married and having kids. When you live alone or are a member of a small household, buying large quantities of food packed in large sizes isn’t practical or economical. This results in small household customers buying food products in smaller pack sizes to fit their family profile and lifestyle needs.
As people become more culturally and socially aware, diversity is now seen everywhere, including in the food retail industry. Retail stores have adjusted their store offerings, when it comes to food and flavor assortments, to cater to a diverse group of people. Even packaging and in-store messaging have become multi-lingual with retailers becoming more culturally conscious of religious dietary restrictions, such as halal foods.
Lifestyle-driven Food Products
Sustainability, convenience, and health-focused foods are not new to the product hotlists of grocery stores. However, lifestyle-driven food products are still continuously influencing strong sales demand. As more people become conscious of diet and wellness, they are becoming focused on what they eat, where it came from, and how it was prepared. Immune-boosting and organic foods, fresh produce, sustainable meat and seafood, and easy-to-prepare meals are still seeing bigger basket sizes with no apparent slowdown expected anytime soon.
Implications to Retailers
These changes in consumer demands create opportunities for retailers to expand their customer base by targeting a different segment of consumers. Targeting these changes in customer demand would entail retailers to excel in reinforcing the supply chain to match the needs of consumers and promote a smooth shopping experience for everyone. Likewise, retailers can improve the overall, in-store experience for customers with the right product positioning and merchandising through the usage of display cases that are not just practical and attractive for customers, but also cost-efficient for retailers. As more and more people prioritize value over the cost of the food products they purchase. These changes in consumer demands give space for retailers to reimagine their strategies needed to create a new segment of loyal customers and get a good share of consumer dollar spending.
In the food retail industry, changes in consumer behavior are not frowned upon; instead, they are celebrated in such a way that no matter how the landscape evolves, retailers remain resilient and flexible to the changes.