Where Is Grocery Going?

Online shopping, convenience foods, sustainability concerns are shaping the supermarket industry.

August 09, 2019

WASHINGTON—If there’s anything that’s certain, it’s that things are always changing, and the supermarket industry has experienced its fair share of upheavals. Grocery Dive took a look at this year’s grocery trends to see how 2019 is shaping up.

E-commerce: Consumers continue to love shopping online, and for grocers, the trick will be to figure out how to profitably tap into that trend. “Today’s retailers are absorbing the costs of rising customer expectations, such as free shipping and immediate delivery windows. … It’s no surprise, then, that retailers like Kroger and its UK partner, the e-grocer Ocado, are developing automated options for picking and fulfillment,” Grocery Dive wrote.

Convenience and ready-made foods: Supermarkets are competing more and more, not just with other grocers but also with other foodservice vendors, like restaurants and convenience stores. “One challenge in this new competitive relationship is that grocery doesn’t lend itself to delivery as easily as does foodservice because of considerable picking and transportation costs,” Grocery Dive said.

Other shopping changes include hyperstores morphing into “neighborhood convenience stores. Lidl’s initial large-store push into the US, for example, is being reevaluated as they look more closely at smaller store formats.”

Sustainability and ecological choices: The interest in sustainability and the environment continues to be a major trend for 2019, especially among retailers in Europe. “Millennial consumers are increasingly influencing the way Americans eat and shop,” the Grocery Dive wrote. “In particular, their healthier food choices often reflect their concerns about sustainability and the environment.”

Workforce management: With U.S. employment at a low point, the labor market remains very tight. Businesses are competing for talent by offering higher wages, more benefits and even hiring bonuses.