Convenience remains in high demand in the retail grocery industry, and it extends far beyond meal kits and prepared foods.

Every part of a consumer’s grocery shopping experience adds up. Some key factors include the ease of checkout, consistent availability of staple food items, personalized suggestions, options for all dietary needs, and packaging for on-the-go.

1. Keeping products in stock

According to FMI data cited by Oakland, Calif.-based Afresh Technologies, meat and seafood collectively make up the top-selling fresh category in retail grocery stores. Many consumers regularly purchase the same fresh meats and seafood products each week, just switching up how they prepare them and what sides they add to their meals.

An important part of convenience for these consumers who stick to a consistent shopping list is always having their go-to products available.

According to Afresh, Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Companies implemented Afresh’s AI-powered store ordering and inventory platform in its meat and seafood departments in more than 2,200 of its stores, following a two-month trial period in late 2023.

“At Albertsons, we strive to create a distinctive experience in fresh foods, and our meat and seafood departments are a key component in this strategy,” said Susan Morris, EVP and chief operations officer for Albertsons. “Afresh has enabled our associates to make smarter decisions daily that keep customer favorites in stock and ensure that we are offering them the best quality, freshest product. The Afresh platform also helps our stores to significantly reduce food waste as Albertsons continues to make progress toward our goal to have zero waste going to landfill by 2030.”

2. Options for a variety of dietary needs

There is no one-size-fits-all diet for health-conscious consumers. Every shopper has unique dietary needs, whether they are driven by allergies, environmental concerns, chronic illness management, athletic training, or simply preferences.

For active families seeking energizing snacks lower in sugar, Fairfield, N.J.-based Crispy Green offers educational resources on its blog ( This year, Crispy Green is celebrating its ‘20th Anniversary of Healthy Snacking’ and is focusing on helping parents teach their children healthy eating habits.

According to Crispy Green, its grab-and-go Crispy Fruit snacks are made with one ingredient: freeze-dried fruit.

The seven available flavors of Crispy Fruit are banana, mango, pear, pineapple, strawberry and tangerine.

Crispy Green said the snack, “provides all the benefits of having fresh fruit with no added sugar and ranges in size from convenient 12-gram (0.42 ounces) to 60-gram (2.12 ounces) snack-size pouches and multi-packs for added convenience with less packaging and food waste.”

For vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians seeking plant-based snacks, Chicago-based Bel Brands USA launched a new alternative spreadable cheese product under its brand The Laughing Cow in January.

According to the company, The Laughing Cow Plant-Based is made with almond milk, maintains the brand’s fan-favorite creamy texture, and is a good source of calcium and non-GMO certified. It is packaged in the brand’s classic single-serve wedges for convenience.

“We’ve spent months perfecting the recipe for The Laughing Cow Plant-Based and are equally excited for this product to hit shelves now, as we are for consumers across the country to try it,” said Zach Fatla, brand director of The Laughing Cow. “This launch marks a new step for the brand, and we look forward to sharing the deliciousness of The Laughing Cow with a whole new audience.”

The product debuted in a Garlic & Herb flavor exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. The Laughing Cow said the Garlic & Herb and an additional Original flavor will be launch at The Kroger Co. stores nationwide this spring.

The Laughing Cow also said it is experimenting with spicy flavors that will potentially launch in 2025.

3. Single servings for on-the-go

The Killer Brownie Co., based in Dayton, Ohio, launched individually packaged Kitchen Sink brownies in January.

The Kitchen Sink flavor is a fudge brownie with rainbow sprinkles mixed in and a topping of M&M’s and mini chocolate chips. “We are thrilled to now offer our best-selling Kitchen Sink brownies with individually wrapped packaging, ideal for sale by grocery stores, c-stores, restaurants and more, helping them to meet the booming consumer demand for high quality, unique grab-and-go treats,” said Chimene Mayne Ross, president and chief customer officer of Killer Brownie Co. “Now even more fans across the US will be able to enjoy a Killer Brownie as the dessert of choice, thanks to this new offering.”

Beyond the on-the-go convenience for general busy lifestyles, individually packaged products also allow consumers who track their daily nutritional intake to spend less time measuring portions and doing mental math.

For consumers with health conditions like diabetes, knowing exactly how many grams of carbohydrates are in their snack can help them be more accurate when deciding how much insulin they need to dose for it.

An individually wrapped sweet treat like a Killer Brownie can also be a convenient and fun choice for people to carry with them for a quick boost if their blood sugar is low. 

This article is an excerpt from the February 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Convenience feature and more in the digital edition here.