What’s HOT at the SU­PER­MAR­KET!

The new­est fla­vors, ser­vices & trends

Albuquerque Journal - Parade - - Front Page - COVER AND OPEN­ING PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY KYLE DREIER • STYLING BY CAL­LIE BLOUNT

Ev­ery day 33 mil­lion of us spend some time at the gro­cery store. It’s no won­der re­tail­ers are try­ing to trans­form our shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ences with new fla­vors, in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies and ex­pand­ing ser­vices to make buy­ing gro­ceries eas­ier, more fun and more de­li­cious than ever. Here’s what you need to know about the top trends.

1. GROCERANTS

To­day’s su­per­mar­ket res­tau­rants, “grocerants,” range from high-qual­ity, quick-ser­vice takeaways to sit-downs with full bars. In some cases, re­tail­ers are team­ing up with celebrity chefs. Hot­shot L.A. chef Roy Choi re­cently opened an out­post of his wildly pop­u­lar Kogi Taqueria and food truck in­side the Whole Foods in El Se­gundo, Calif. Chicago-area chain Mar­i­ano’s hired award­win­ning chef Ryan LaRoche away from the Blue Duck Tav­ern in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to trans­form su­per­mar­ket back rooms into kitchens worthy of white-table­cloth res­tau­rants and train the staff to turn out restau­rant-qual­ity fare.

Else­where, Weg­mans, Kroger, ShopRite, Publix and oth­ers boast growler (take-out beer) taps, sushi coun­ters, wine bars, smoke­houses, smoothie bars and gourmet pizza ovens.

2. MEAL KITS

Last year, the meal-kit rev­o­lu­tion took off with brands such as Blue Apron, Pur­ple Car­rot and Chef ’d de­liv­er­ing pre­mea­sured in­gre­di­ents and step-by-step in­struc­tions to

cus­tomers’ doors for as lit­tle as $10 per serv­ing. Nat­u­rally, su­per­mar­kets want a piece of this fast-grow­ing mar­ket and now of­fer their own ver­sions, from Aprons Sim­ple Meals at Publix to Hy-Vee’s Fresh Meal Kits. Prices start at $15 per meal for two.

Go to Pa­rade.com/kits to learn more about the meal-kit trend.

3. NU­TRI­TION IN AISLE 3

Eat­ing right starts with buy­ing the right food, and now you can get help at your lo­cal mar­ket. More than 1,000 re­tail di­eti­tians work in an es­ti­mated 11,000 su­per­mar­kets across the U.S. Their ser­vices, often free, in­clude su­per­mar­ket tours, nu­tri­tion classes, cook­ing demon­stra­tions, food sam­pling, an­swer­ing shop­pers’ ques­tions, even one-on-one coun­sel­ing.

“I like see­ing a cus­tomer and hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion right in the aisle,” says Rachel Sim­pers, RD, a re­tail di­eti­tian at ShopRite in Hills­bor­ough, N.J. “I love know­ing his or her fam­ily and be­ing able to give nu­tri­tion ad­vice or a prod­uct rec­om­men­da­tion.”

4. DE­LIV­ERY

You can shop with­out leav­ing home via any num­ber of ser­vices, in­clud­ing Ama­zon. (The on­line re­tail gi­ant’s food sales are pro­jected to reach $23.3 bil­lion by 2021.) In­stacart, now avail­able in nu­mer­ous ci­ties in 23 states plus the Dis­trict of Columbia, shops for you at your fa­vorite stores. You or­der on­line (or us­ing an iPhone or An­droid app), pay a small de­liv­ery fee and your gro­ceries are at your door an hour later or when oth­er­wise sched­uled. Other gro­cers, such as Kroger and Publix, of­fer a hy­brid ser­vice—or­der on­line and their trained staff gath­ers your gro­ceries for pickup out­side the store or from a drive-through.

5. COZY CON­VE­NIENCE

For some shop­pers, es­pe­cially mil­len­nial and post-mil­len­nial (Gen Z) con­sumers, smaller is bet­ter. Ger­man re­tail­ers

Aldi and Lidl are chal­leng­ing main­stream su­per­mar­kets with smaller stores stocked with high-qual­ity prod­ucts at low prices and a quick, con­ve­nient re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence. Aldi, with more than 1,500 stores in the U.S., of­fers sav­ings of up to 50 per­cent on their own store brands (which oc­cupy more than 90 per­cent of the shelf space). Lidl is ex­pected to open as many as 100 U.S. stores this year.

Ama­zon Go is a pro­to­type con­ve­nience store in Seat­tle, where fresh food meets cut­tingedge tech­nol­ogy. The store has a kitchen that makes sand­wiches, pre­pared foods and meal kits daily, plus a small se­lec­tion of gro­cery sta­ples. But what sets it apart is “just walk out” tech­nol­ogy that’s sim­i­lar to the tech be­hind driver­less cars. It tracks what shop­pers grab from shelves (or put back) and au­to­mat­i­cally charges pur­chases to their Ama­zon ac­counts. No lines, no cash reg­is­ters.

6. IN­TEGRITY

To­day’s shop­pers care where and how their food is grown, raised, made and by whom. Al­most three-quar­ters of us fa­vor com­pa­nies that are trans­par­ent about how their prod­ucts are made, ac­cord­ing to a 2016 Nielsen sur­vey.

Whole Foods led the way in pro­mot­ing its 5-Step An­i­mal Wel­fare Rat­ing to help shop­pers gauge the agri­cul­tural prac­tices for the store’s beef, pork and poul­try. Kosher and ha­lal foods (pre­pared with strin­gent food-safety prac­tices for reli­gious rea­sons) are ex­pected to grow by dou­ble dig­its over the next decade as more non-Jewish and non-Mus­lim shop­pers em­brace their tenets of good an­i­mal hus­bandry and food-safety prac­tices. Ha­lal and kosher foods are par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar among mil­len­nial and Gen Z shop­pers (the 60-mil­lion-strong jug­ger­naut of 6- to 21-year-olds who are al­ready mak­ing their shop­ping needs heard). Shaped by the Great Re­ces­sion and ter­ror­ism, the older mem­bers of Gen Z are fi­nan­cially cau­tious and de­mand good value from the prod­ucts they buy. They hate cor­po­rate greed and ex­pect trans­parency from brands. Visit

Pa­rade.com/shop­pers for more on this next gen­er­a­tion of shop­pers.

7. WASTE NOT

The U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (USDA) es­ti­mates up to 40 per­cent of our food goes to waste, and al­most one-third of that oc­curs at the re­tail and con­sumer level. The USDA and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency have set a goal to cut food waste in half by 2030.

Re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing Wal­mart, are pro­mot­ing “ugly” (bruised or oddly shaped) fruits and veg­eta­bles that tra­di­tion­ally have ended up in land­fills. ShopRite and other re­tail­ers save food from

Jenna Werner, RD, helps a cus­tomer un­der­stand nu­tri­tion la­bel­ing.

Aldi’s smaller stores com­bine qual­ity and af­ford­able prices.

Ama­zonFresh de­liv­ers gro­ceries to your door.

Many su­per­mar­kets now of­fer shop­pers grab-and-go meal kits.

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