Despite a challenging year marked by a persisting pandemic, historic inflation, supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages, the food industry is making significant investments to meet shoppers’ evolving tastes, according to the FMI—The Food Industry Association.
“A major trend that has emerged from the pandemic is shoppers are looking for fresher, healthier, more convenient options at their grocery store,” says Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI—The Food Industry Association. “Food retailers have absorbed this feedback and are making great strides to create both online and in-person shopping destinations that cater to shoppers’ evolving tastes.”
- The survey finds that food retailers are focusing on investments in new technologies (73%) like foodservice ordering and delivery, dynamic pricing and mobile checkout systems. They are also increasing labor allocation for online purchase fulfillment (52%) and in-store/curbside pick-up (48%).
- Retailers are also expanding numerous fresh or perimeter departments. More than 80% are increasing the space they allocate to fresh-prepared, grab-and-go products as well as offering foods with beneficial nutrition attributes for health and well-being (70%). The departments expected to grow include locally sourced (72%) and organic produce (62%), plant-based foods and animal protein alternatives (64%), allergen-free (38%) and gluten-free (35%) SKUs.
“While inflation is a cause for concern for the food industry, it is much more concerning for American families who work hard to put food on their tables,” says Sarasin. “The food industry is committed to addressing these challenges so we can support families in the communities in which we operate by providing access to healthy and affordable foods.”