Top 5 things set to impact your grocery habits


The grocery industry, valued at $120-billion, affects all of us, with an economic, environmental, health and societal implication.

The Grocery & Specialty Food West (GSFW) conference and exhibition returns to Vancouver March 20-21.

At this trade conference, more than 2,400 grocery thought-leaders will convene for discussions about innovations, trends and how the future of the grocery industry are expected to impact habits in the years to come.

Five key factors to impact daily grocery habits:

1. A demand for “grocerants” and home-meal-replacements

A grocerant blurs the line between a restaurant and grocery store, and is aimed at the time-starved consumer with ready-to-eat or fresh heat-and-eat, grab and go items.
Added to this, grocers increasingly offer in-store eating areas. Canadians currently spend $2.5 billion a year on this home meal replacement category, as reported by foodserviceandhospitality.com, and the millennial cohort in particular is attracted to the grocerant model.

2. Growing popularity for online grocery shopping

In Canada, online shopping for grocery is less than 2% of the $120-billion in annual grocery sales (as compared to the 5% of the $1-trillion grocery market in the USA being online). The next generation, all digital natives, expect everything including groceries to be bought online. Retailers are reacting to meet the needs of this cohort of Generation Z-ers, with services such as click-and-collect, to full online and home delivery service.

3. Re-Urbanization

With the higher transportation, energy and housing prices, a population increase, particularly Millennials, are moving into smaller housing units in densely populated urban areas for the convenience and walkable community factor. This creates a new urbanization and consumer shopping trend. With smaller storage space and a lack of access to cars, population tend to grocery shop more frequently but with fewer items at once. Younger urban households with kids are more likely to shop online. This influences the type of products that retailers stock on their shelves.

4. Going hyper-local for energy savings

Food grown in your own backyard and urban farming, as well as eating local, are large global trends. Grocers are getting involved, and examples include a German supermarket initiating an indoor vertical farm, or a greenhouse affixed to the roof of Brooklyn’s Whole Foods Market. The produce grown at these stores is then sold in the stores. This hyperlocal greenhouse trend saves energy too; produce grown hydroponically in a rooftop greenhouse, uses 50% less energy than one on the ground.

5. Growth in Discount Grocery Channels

Canadians are always looking for a deal, regardless of their economic circumstances. Discount grocery channels often sell products that near the end of their shelf life or that do not sell as well in mainstream grocery stores. Nielsen reported that the discount grocery channel in Canada grew 4% in 2015, compared with zero market share growth at conventional full-line grocery stores. Nielsen stats show today 36% of all grocery items are sold on a discount price promotion, a figure that has been on the rise since 2010.


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James Chung

Founder & Editor in Chief of Hello Vancity magazine. Email [email protected]

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