What perimeter department has the most opportunities in the new normal?

Dana Ehrlich, Verde Farms cofounder and CEO

We see ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products having the most to gain — they can make a real impact in consumers’ meal planning right now. We see consumers gravitating toward convenient, easy-to-prepare options that offer the comfort of a home-cooked meal with the certainty of foolproof results. With health and wellness in mind, we also see consumers continuing to value responsibly-sourced, clean-label options. 

Megan Rider, Domestic Marketing Director, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI)

The seafood department was poised for growth heading into 2020, and while this is an unprecedented time for many industries, ours included, we see the opportunities for seafood continuing to grow. Consumers are increasingly looking for satisfying foods, especially quality protein sources, that offer health and immunity benefits. Recent Mintel research named seafood the second-most missed item from restaurants, so we expect to see even more consumers turn to cooking seafood at home in the months ahead.

Sonia Bal, marketing director, Unifiller

Dairy, produce and meat, will always be popular, although we will continue to see some impact on both supply and demand dependent on re-occurrences of Covid-19. Suppliers are shifting their production and distribution strategies to the new normal. Scratch baking at home is a recent trend. So, I think we may see a slower return of sales of luxury dessert or celebration cakes.

Shelley Balanko, senior vice president, The Hartman Group

Consumers will be seeking inherently nutrient dense and functional foods and beverages to help mitigate the effects of stress and anxiety, and support their goals around energy and immune and digestive health. For these reasons, we believe the following perimeter sections of the grocery store will be increasingly relevant: yogurt case, functional beverage (e.g., RTD coffee and teas, Kombucha, etc.) case, produce, and bakery. 

Chris Oliviero, general manager, Niman Ranch

Fresh meat has always been a key attraction, and this is even more so today as consumers have reconnected with cooking at home. People are more willing to try new recipes and spend time creating meals as more special occasions are celebrated at home and consumers have grown weary of eating the same dish week to week. We also expect the new normal to include an increased appreciation for natural meats and the health and sustainability aspects of food.

This segment was featured in the August issue of Supermarket Perimeter. Check out the full issue here.