Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert sees these 10 trends gaining attention from consumers in 2014:
1. The Emergence of the "IndieWoman": Almost 31 million strong, the “IndieWoman” will be a major food influencer. These women are 27 and older, live alone, and have no children. According to a Milo.com survey, these women have strong affiliations to brands and love to hunt for bargains. When it comes to their supermarket habits, “IndieWomen” spend $50 billion on food and beverages each year.
2. Better for You Snacking: When researching the association between daily snacking frequency and the Healthy Eating Index, researchers from the NPD Group recently found that as snacking increased, so did individuals' overall diet quality. As a result, healthy options for consumers are on the rise with nearly 60% of all snack foods now positioned as better for you, according to Innova Market Insights.
3. Brands Reach Consumers Locally Through Cause Initiatives: In 2013, consumers heard a lot about real, transparent and simple foods. In 2014, brands will extend this feel-good simplicity by finding greater purpose in serving the larger community. A survey recently conducted by ConAgra Foods found that 62% of consumers appreciate and want to support companies that donate to important social causes.
4. Click to Cook: In a recent online ConAgra Foods survey, one third of consumers reported using their mobile phone while at the grocery store, most often to refer to shopping lists and recipes.
5. Supermarkets—The New Culinary Schools: To add value in an increasingly competitive food retailer environment, supermarkets are becoming the center of communities. Taking a cue from what is already occurring in the social media food world, grocery stores are beginning to offer services such as “community cooking centers” where shoppers can collaborate and learn from each other. These social environments are the perfect place for the aging Millennials as they are a group that likes to cook, but doesn’t necessarily have the skills to make elaborate meals at home.
6. The Retailer Becomes the Brand: Consumers have become increasingly loyal to their preferred retailer and its products. A recent survey by ConAgra Foods found that 53% of consumers shop at a particular retailer because it has good private brand products. This aligns with the report by the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) that states private brand sales increased by more than 2.9% in 2012, pushing annual revenues to more than $108 billion – an all-time record, according to Nielsen.
7. Rise and Shine—The New Way to Start Your Day: In 2014, consumers will look to add more protein to their first meal, with Mintel reporting that consumers are looking more at foods like eggs, meats, and Greek yogurt, as well as whole grain products, for their breakfast to live a healthy lifestyle without compromising taste and indulgence.
8. Packaging Evolves to Share More with Consumers: This year, canned soups shifted to carton packaging with more than 58% of all broth products transitioning into cartons, according to Symphony IRI. Pasta sauce is following the trend as well, with Hunt’s tomato sauce now offering its product in larger carton packaging for easier storage and use.
9. Millenials Make the Supermarket Social: The Millennial generation’s fascination with social media will begin to overflow into other parts of their lives – including the supermarket. In fact, 57% of Pinterest, the pinboard-style photo-sharing website, is made of food related content with 33% of Pinterest users saying they have purchased food or cooking items after seeing them on site, according to a survey by PriceGrabber.
10. International Restaurant Flavors At Home: The surge of Latino and Asian populations, along with growing consumer interest in adding more flavor and variety to mealtime, has led to more growth opportunities for South American, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines in the food world. From school cafeterias, to the dining room table, global flavors are sprouting up in places other than restaurants.