Inflation is rising, and for many households, it’s a significant concern as they shop for their weekly groceries. Inflation is changing how consumers shop and creating new grocery shopping trends. In the food industry, grocers are finding a unique opportunity above and beyond competing over increases in price in shifting to a focus on health and wellness.
People have become more aware that generally eating healthy is not enough. The quality of the products consumed is just as important as the meals themselves. According to a recent study developed by Deloitte, 84% of people consider health and wellness when purchasing fresh food. In light of the rise in prices, people are choosing fresh over frozen time and time again when prices allow.
So why is fresh food important, and how can grocers connect with their customers to help improve the experience while increasing their bottom line?
How are Consumers Managing Inflation?
Latest grocery shopping trends suggest that many consumers are adopting new strategies in response to the rise of food prices due to inflation. People are focusing on reducing costs by carefully selecting the types of foods they purchase. They choose private labels over brand names, carefully meal plan to reduce food waste, and shop multiple stores to snag deals on their favorite food items. Others have turned to completely halting purchasing items such as seafood, steaks, and more “high-end” foods.
Grocery Shopping Trends Suggest Shoppers are Willing to Pay More for Fresh Foods
Interestingly enough, although the rise in the cost of food is creating new grocery shopping trends, they are still prioritizing fresh, quality foods over less expensive frozen and packaged foods. Consumers have noted that while frozen and packaged foods remain a more affordable option, they have significantly increased (double the price inflation) compared to their fresh counterparts. Health and wellness continue to be more important as more research surfaces on the link between fresh foods and improving overall health in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, preventing diabetes, and more.
How Can Grocers Better Connect with Customers as they Prioritize Health Post-Pandemic and During the Holidays?
Health concerns continue post-pandemic, and with inflation on the rise, more consumers focus on improving their health. Traditionally, grocers see a rise in sales for healthier items after the holiday season as consumers set their New Year’s resolutions and health goals for the year.
Grocers and fresh food companies have an opportunity to connect with their shoppers by consistently providing fresh, quality foods for them to feel confident in choosing over packaged products. By understanding shoppers and their behaviors, grocers can meet consumers where they are as they shop for healthier, fresh foods, even with prices on the rise.
Grocers can do their part by ensuring there is fair, equitable information available and transparency in pricing. For many shoppers, they may not understand why an item is priced higher than packaged products. Customers are more likely to trust their grocer if they are made to understand the reasons behind it and feel less likely that they are being price gouged.
Reducing waste is a major pain point consumers are trying to solve in this recession. Grocers can go the extra mile by providing value in several ways.
Steps grocery retailers can take include:
- Providing prepared fresh foods and menu items that can adjust to requested portion sizes.
- Equipping replenishment and merchandising teams with tools to help optimize product placement and ordering to increase day-of-shelf in the hands of the consumer.
- Managing complex recipes in-store by providing easily accessible regulatory compliant nutrition and allergen labels
- Providing educational resources for both teams and shoppers on storage and handling and local seasonal availability
At Invafresh, we are in the business of helping retailers with their ordering and replenishment processes. Not only does the efficacy of these processes have an impact on top-line and bottom-line growth, it also means increased customer loyalty from improved on-shelf availability as a result of better forecasting which in turn increases revenue from lower spoilage and markdown costs.
The rise in food prices show no signs of slowing down and like many of us, we are all looking for ways to purchase fresh foods while keeping grocery costs down. This grocery shopping trend opens the opportunity for grocers to build stronger customer relationships. Stores can work to educate and connect in ways that provide value, building trust and hopefully, a more loyal customer base. Given the amount of choice consumers have today, it’s very easy for them to go to a competitor if they don’t like what they see in your store. Investing in the right automation tools gives grocery retailers the power to ensure they provide a positive shopping experience and offer the freshest product available while also increasing sales, lowering shrink, and optimizing labor resources.