Should Supermarkets Expand their Ethnic Food?

The Lempert Report
December 29, 2014

Are stores missing a big sales opportunity?

Supermarkets are full of displays and promotions all trying to grab the shoppers’ attention. But according to a new study, there's one area that's staying a little quiet, and as a result holding up a big purchase opportunity. Where? Ethnic foods!

A recent report from LoyaltyOne, a marketing program provider, says that although many major supermarkets have improved their ethnic food selections,  63 percent of ethnic shoppers in the U.S. still complain they can't find enough ethnic food and ingredients at their main grocery store.  The study showed that more than half of ethnic consumers, or 59 percent, say they have to visit three or more specialized stores to find the full product selection they want.

Graeme McVie, vice president and general manager of business development for LoyaltyOne states in the report, "There is huge opportunity in calibrating product mix to satisfy the desire for foods and products that ethnically diverse consumers are looking for," 

Is this an opportunity for supermarkets not only to draw in more ethnic shoppers but also promote different foods and products to non-ethnic shoppers as well? Data from the study also showed that not only would 85 percent of ethnic shoppers cook ethnic foods more often, but 65 percent of non-ethnic shoppers in the survey feel this way as well. So perhaps it’s time for supermarkets to start making the right ingredients available.

If supermarkets took the opportunity to expand their range of ethnic foods, even a small expansion of this area could be a path to new sales.