What’s HOT at the SUPERMARKET!
The newest flavors, services & trends
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.
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.”
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.
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.