Supermarket Perimeter - March 2021 - 10

years
SOSLAND PUBLISHING

Dollar sales growth: 4-year CAGR

PERIMETER

BEVERAGES

2.6%
2.3%
1.4%
1.1%
.5%
REFRIGERATED

TOTAL FOOD

GENERAL FOOD

FROZEN

Source: Mintel

10 - MARCH 2021

but Richard is optimistic about brick-andmortar's future, particularly when it comes to the
perimeter.
Even some of the hardest-hit categories
are expected to pick up where they left off
pre-pandemic.
" Prepared foods has taken a big hit in the past
year, but going into the pandemic it was doing
very well, and it's an area that going forward can
really help supermarkets evolve and compete
more with quick-serve and other foodservice
channels, " Richard said. " More and more
people look to supermarkets as an option for
prepared foods. "
Past evolutions of the perimeter that will
continue in the future, he added, will include
more food halls, food courts and grocerants that
will plant more and more grocery stores firmly in
the foodservice world.
" I think we'll get back there, " he said. " Statistics
show that the trend of people eating away
from home will continue. The supermarket is
going from mainly a place where you get your
ingredients to a prepared food destination. "

In the know
Hand-in-hand with that, Richard said, is
supermarkets' growing role as a hub of
information for shoppers - something else that
evolved in recent decades. IDDBA, for instance, is
currently working on implementing a charcuterie
certification program that will help retailers
explain a complex industry to a consumer base
that is ravenous for information on the topic.
The same goes for cheese, for entertaining in
general and for countless other aspects of the
perimeter experience where education could
open a world of opportunity to grocery retailers.
" Trending flavors, foods consumers haven't
tried but want to try - the supermarket can
educate people about what they're selling and
tell those stories - the grocery store becomes the
storyteller, " Richard said.
Another huge change that has affected the
perimeter, and grocery stores in general, over the
decades has been demographics-based, Richard
said. Namely: households, on average, aren't
nearly as big as they used to be.
" Forty to 50 years ago you'd be shopping for
a family of four or five. Now it's a single person,
or someone and their partner. The size, the
quantity, how it's packaged has all changed. "
That's definitely true in the instore bakery,
Richard said. Not everyone is looking to buy an
supermarketperimeter.com

entire loaf of bread these days. Maybe they want
half a loaf, or even just a few slices.
" Demographics have impacted how products
are merchandised, " he said. " It's true in the deli,
too. Not everyone wants a pound or a half pound
of turkey. Maybe they want a quarter-pound
instead. "
" When we get back to normal we'll see all
these trends that were emerging before the
pandemic, plus new innovations. There will
definitely be continued growth on the fresh
perimeter. At the end of the day, when it comes
to supermarkets, the fresh perimeter is really
the draw. "

Looking ahead
One change in the perimeter that is more recent,
Stein said, is the emphasis on locally grown and
sourced foods and on assortment.
" Think of a produce department in, say, 1979,
or 1983. In the mid-Atlantic, where I grew up, if
it was January, you'd see a lot of hard goods -
apples, pears, onions and potatoes -but not soft
fruit. You'd have to go to frozen for that. "
Now, with imports, it's easy to find almost
whatever you could possibly want in the way of a
fresh fruit or vegetable, year-round.
Stein also expects retail foodservice to continue
making the huge strides it was pre-pandemic.
" Stores' culinary capability has really
blossomed in the last 10 years, " he said. " They're
competing with restaurants. "
Some things could permanently change due
to COVID, however. Donuts from the instore
bakery are more likely to be marketed packaged.
Hot bars will return, but for now, instead of
consumers serving themselves, a clerk will dish
up their foods to avoid too many hands touching
the same serving spoons and ladles.
Salad bars may be repurposed as grab 'n go
premade salad areas. (Repurposing could be a
necessity for many retailers who have invested
in expensive equipment, some of which isn't
easily moved.)
Retailers can look to capitalize on that
repurposing by adding other cold grab and go
deli prepared items. Some, for instance, have
already seen success marketing cold chicken
wings in repurposed bars, Stein said. Retailers
may worry about the added labor expense,
but Stein said volume can make up for that if
consumers see value in it.
" One retailer put their wing bar into full-service,
and they sold through the roof, " he said.

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