Tapping in to the Modern Customer

With a little imagination brick and mortar stores can be a central source for health, fresh foods and good nutrition.

December 17, 2013

The brick and mortar side of supermarkets are still struggling against their online competitors, and it seems the only group of supermarkets that are growing are the ones who have made "fresh" a priority.

According to Nielsen, fresh foods account for 30% of consumer expenditures on food, grocery and personal care here in the U.S. We should expect in 2014 to see dramatic differences take place as major chains include, and build on, many of the attributes of this Fresh Format. Retailers doing well in fresh produce; for example, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Fresh Market, are adding additional locations and interest to the shopping experience.

So, is it time for traditional supermarkets to step up and compete here? Take Wholefoods for example, who pay special attention to their fresh produce. It almost rivals a farmer's markets. Emphasis is on a fresh, farm to table approach. And while Wholefoods has had to work to counter price perception - they were largely seen as expensive, and only appealing to the sophisticated organic seeking shopper - they have managed to do well in smaller areas and hold a leading position as "the place to go" for nutritious and healthy foods.

Seeing how well these stores are doing, regular supermarkets should follow their lead and becomes community centers for healthy foods. Ideas could be offering  “community cooking centers” where shoppers can collaborate and learn from each other. Or offering “ healthy meal kits”: everything you need to prepare six to eight meals for about $10 a meal for two. While a few supermarkets around the country have developed similar programs (Publix in particular), why shouldn't every supermarket offer this convenience?        

With a little imagination brick and mortar stores can be a central source for health, fresh foods and good nutrition. 

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