Food Business News - May 15, 2018 - 36
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Winners and losers in the
food retail landscape
oday's consumer food purchases
span a continuum of transactional
to experiential. Successful retailers, manufacturers and food service
operators will offer a balance of both
extremes, said Christina Bowden, senior
director of Consulting Services at The
The food retail landscape is increasingly complex and blurry. While traditional grocery remains the main player
in retail, consumers are shopping on average more than four different channels
each month, Ms. Bowden said during The
Hartman Group's Food Culture Forecast
2018 summit on April 19 in Miami.
Nearly half of shoppers visited multiple stores on the most recent grocery
trip, citing selection and price as top reasons. Additionally, half of consumers are
shopping more online than a year ago.
"That poses a really interesting
and unique challenge for the current
system of shopping that we have
today," Ms. Bowden said. "Digital is
basically increasing the competition.
They're stepping things up."
Online grocery shopping offers elements of transactional and experiential,
answering consumer desires for convenience and value while also delivering a
customized, playful and fun experience,
Ms. Bowden said.
"Online is a treasure hunt for consumers," she said.
An example is Thrive Market, a
subscription-based platform that delivers
natural and specialty snacks and pantry
staples to members at discounted prices.
Products are categorized by more than
70 values, ranging from low-FODMAP
to locally sourced. In addition to selling
branded products, Thrive Market features
a variety of private label items, including
organic chickpea fusilli, organic sprouted
popcorn and non-G.M.O. canned tuna.
"Online will continue to change the
competitive landscape," Ms. Bowden said.
"It's not just about being online but also
offering a unique and interesting experience that resonates with consumers, and
online also has the opportunity to really
Thrive Market is an e-commerce, subscription-based platform that delivers natural and specialty
snacks and pantry staples to members at discounted prices.
Food Business News
deliver on that experiential element as
well to differentiate itself in the market."
Two key needs articulated by consumers when shopping across retailers
are fresh, less processed foods and
convenience, driving growth at specialty
grocers such as Aldi and Sprouts, Ms.
Bowden said. Forty-four per cent of consumers are shopping more at discounter
Aldi, which rates high among shoppers
for value and satisfaction.
"Aldi has found their prices are
around 20% lower than that of their
competitors," Ms. Bowden said. "But it's
not just about price. It's about finding
balance and that place on the continuum
that really makes them have their own
point of differentiation."
She pointed to the brand's private label program, which includes gluten-free
and plant-based options, sustainably
sourced meats and a line of products free
from artificial ingredients.
"They're really speaking to consumer values and building trust with
the consumer around what they say they
want," she said.
Food service operators also are delivering on a continuum of transactional to
experiential, fueling growth of premium
quick-service restaurants in recent years,
Ms. Bowden said. An example is Sweetgreen, a fast-casual salad chain featuring
a menu of fresh, seasonal ingredients.
"We're also seeing a lot of interesting
and unique offerings that deliver on another type of experience as well," she said,
citing Starbucks' color-changing Unicorn
Frappuccino as an example. "When we
talk about experience, it's all about trying
something new, playing, having fun." FBN
May 15, 2018