The Changing Face Of Grocery Shopping: From Downsizing Supercenters To Brand Identity

Completing your weekly shopping trip used to mean going to one store and purchasing the one brand of tomato sauce offered. Today, consumers are bombarded with a plethora of decisions before they even write up their grocery list, from hitting up the health food store or the supercenter to going with the tired and true name brand of the generic store brand products.

Consumer trends have always shaped grocery shopping. When we wanted more options we created supercenters, when we wanted healthy foods we created health-food stores. And the evolution of grocery shopping doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon, Business Insider reports.

“In the 1990s and the beginning years of this century, the greatest threat to supermarkets and grocery stores came from supersized ‘one-stop shopping’ venues like supercenters and warehouse clubs,” the market research firm Packaged Facts wrote about emerging grocery trends. “Today the threat is spread out among all retail channels, including drugstores, dollar stores, limited assortment chains, and — the elephant in the room — e-commerce.”

Traditional grocery stores such as Safeway or Kroger aren’t the only places consumers flock to for their weekly groceries. Packaged Facts found that consumers stop at, on average, five different types of stores, including supercenters, drug stores and speciality stores, during each shopping trip they make.

The extra stops are made because consumers can’t find everything they desire, instead, the stops are made to find the precise mix of value, quality and specific brands.

Brand identification is another emerging trend in the grocery shopping game. According to a Packaged Facts survey, store-branded grocery sales are projected to nearly double in the next two years.

The trend of purchasing house brands, which are typically cheaper, stems from the recent recession when consumer were looking for more wallet-friendly products. In addition to lower prices, consumers believe that the quality of the products are actually better.

At one point in time, shopping at supercenters that offered every product under the sun was popular and convenient. Now consumers say the experience can be overwhelming.

“When a customer walks into a store of 40,000 items and only wants to buy 30 of them, that’s a terrible customer experience,” Chad Arnold, president and CEO of the online grocery service Door to Door Organics tells Business Insider. “Companies are now scaling back stores and getting them more focused to specific customers, instead of a one-store-fits-all approach.”

Since 2006, the average square footage of a supermarket has shrunk to 46,000 square feet. Even stores that became popular as supercenters are scaling back. In the past several years, Walmart has downsized with their Neighborhood Markets.

So, with all the choices consumers face before hitting the store, what’s the number one reason they decide on a specific store?

Nearly 75% of consumers surveyed say the quality of products available in the produce department is the most important. The second most important aspect is the freshness of meat, poultry and seafood.

4 Ways American Grocery Shopping Is Changing Forever [Business Insider]