Fresh Foods are not Realizing Their Potential

The Lempert Report
February 06, 2020

Consulting firm Deloitte surveyed 153 fresh food manufacturers and retailers and 2,000 consumers to understand why fresh is lagging — and the challenges ahead.

In the past two years, according to the survey, two-thirds of consumers increased their spending on fresh food, including meat, poultry and produce, with 74% buying from one of the categories at least once per week. Fresh food overall isn’t being picked as much as retailers and manufacturers would like however. Retailers have created more shelf space for fresh foods — especially in produce, which accounts for 60% of perimeter growth — to meet the anticipated demand of a better-for-you lifestyle, but sales fell short of expectations.

Actually its center-store that is driving overall grocery sales, according to Nielsen’s 2019 Total Consumer Report. Brick-and-mortar CPG generated $813 billion last year, a 2.2% year-over-year increase, and most of the $5.4 billion dollar growth in grocery was driven by center-store products like snacks and candy.

Deloitte’s study reports that 80% of shoppers bought fresh foods for health benefits, and 77% were seeking preservative and chemical-free options. But some consumers won’t spend more for locally-sourced and organic items — even if they believe in those value propositions. 

Deloitte has identified three groups – ‘followers’, ‘forwards’ and ‘neutrals’. The ‘Followers’ are a large segment of middle-aged shoppers with families and represent 47% of consumers and are interested in healthier, sustainable options — but they view price as a factor. 

The ‘Forwards’ are generally younger shoppers and represent 31% of consumers who prioritize health and wellness over convenience and price. These shoppers will pay a premium for food that matches their needs.

Both the majority of ‘Forwards’ and ‘Followers’ list health and wellness and food safety as top considerations for purchases. The ‘Neutrals’ who make up 22% of shoppers who are mostly older single or two-person households prioritize price and convenience over health and wellness.

What percentage of your shoppers fall into each group?