DENVER — Fresh supermarket perimeter departments such as in-store bakeries and delis can drive retail store preferences as well as prompt consumers to change where they shop for groceries, according to a new study by The Hartman Group.
Specifically, a quarter to half of shoppers, depending on the category, will look beyond their primary retailers to seek out new or high-quality food products, noted Laurie Demeritt, chief executive officer, The Hartman Group, during the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (I.D.D.B.A.) 50th Annual Seminar and Expo held in Denver this week.
The on-line survey of more than 850 adult shoppers indicated that millennials are more likely to shop away from their primary supermarket or grocery store for better quality and unique specialty cheeses, prepared foods, specialty meats, deli items, baked foods and dairy products. In fact, 46% of millennials will leave their primary store for a preferred store when it comes to fresh prepared foods versus 35% of baby boomers, according to the survey.
“They want to know more about the store behind [their food choices], where did [the food] come from, who made it and what the company stands for,” Ms. Demeritt said. “They also believe they should have more of a voice, more of a say, in what’s coming out in the market.”
The survey showed 50% of consumers will migrate to a preferred store for specialty cheese, 40% for prepared foods, 38% for specialty meats, 37% for deli items, 36% for baked goods and 26% for fresh dairy products.
Among millennials, Ms. Demeritt added, the definition of health and wellness falls into two buckets that go well beyond nutrition. The first involves products that are fresh and less processed with fewer additives and chemicals, which the food industry terms clean label.
“Health and wellness is also this idea of high-quality, enjoyable food, and indulgence is definitely part of that,” she said of the second bucket.
When it comes to health and wellness, preventing heart disease and cancer remain major concerns among millennials. However, quality of life is a major factor when it comes to selection of foods.
“It’s about anxiety — not getting enough sleep, not having enough energy,” Ms. Demeritt said.
Moreover, technology has become integrated into shoppers’ lives as they seek information and inspiration both in-store and digitally for deeper engagement with their foods. Overall, 58% of adult shoppers have a smartphone. However, once again, there are generational differences on how technology is used. The survey showed 34% of millennials use smartphones to gather information on the food products they buy versus 8% of baby boomers.
Another emerging issue involves genetically modified organisms (G.M.O.s) and the non-G.M.O. movement.
“Consumers have a superficial knowledge of G.M.O.s right now, but they definitely want to know more about it,” Ms. Demeritt said. Specifically, she added, consumers want to know what G.M.O.s are, whether they are in the foods they purchase and how G.M.O.s might affect their health and the wellness of their families.