Fresh fruit and vegetables, prepared meals, nuts and chocolate bars.
These aren’t the typical sight in the stands at the local supermarket. But for most grocery shoppers, these foods are not only more often on the shelves, but more often—as much as 67 percent—available at the end of their shopping list.
A new report by Sobeys shows this shift toward consumer buying habits, with the chain forecasting increased penetration of prepared food, meal delivery, and health and wellness items in the coming year.
“We believe these trends are short-term shifts that will continue to shape supermarket grocery marketing,” the report reads.
The chain thinks these changes are a result of changing demographics—younger shoppers are more interested in natural and organic products and healthier foods. Their family-owned stores—largely chain operators—are also adapting to the rise of online retailing, with Sobeys looking to open a fulfillment center in Calgary next year to take advantage of online orders.
Other trends identified by the report include all types of women shopping more—particularly moms—nursing mothers, young professional women, people of color, and those with an annual household income of $150,000 or more.
The report also notes that millennial shoppers spend more money, on average, and the average food shopping bill grew to $138 in the most recent fiscal year.
As brands try to attract shoppers with new offerings and the innovative use of technology, supermarkets are experimenting with different ways to attract and serve customers and grow the business. The Beechwood Mall in Philadelphia is hosting a “nibble on” event where shoppers get a biscuit and drink of their choice, and get their groceries free of charge, while the struggling Sears store in San Jose, California, is serving customers a food truck court within the store.