A new year brings new consumer grocery trends, and, now that 2019 is in full swing, grocers could be left wondering if their inventory is up to date. Are they prepared for the onslaught of customers who are going to seek out specific food categories and products in order to keep up with popular diets and wellness trends?
If you find yourself in that boat, have no fear. We’ve done the research for you and looked into what you should be stocking your shelves with in 2019.
Consumers are concerned about sustainability
The past few years have seen a seismic shift in the way that consumers view the products that they’re purchasing. A transitioning political culture and environmental turmoil have pushed customers to seek out products that make them feel like they are taking action, that they are contributing to to the health of society, of the Earth, and of themselves.
Increased focus on plant-based diets
The first consideration for the eco-conscious customer is whether or not a product is plant-based. Customers are aware that eating a plant-focused diet is healthier for the environment, and can also have personal health benefits. They aren’t only seeking out meat alternatives, they’re going to be searching for meal options that are vegan, raw, or revolve entirely around a vegetable as the main feature of their entree. Consider offering recipes that promote a plant-based diet to keep up with this trend.
Another notable shift is the switch from dairy milk to plant-based alternatives. While almond milk has been on the rise for quite some time, consumers are now open to exploring other options, one of the most popular being oat milk. It has a smoother texture than other plant-based milks, and offers coffee drinkers and die-hard protein shake consumers a dairy-free twist on their classic drinks.
Customers are just as interested in the exterior packaging of a product as they are about what they’re actually consuming. You’ve probably heard about the 2018 push for a straw ban, and are aware of the problems of food waste throughout the industry. This trend is your chance to jump on the “go green” bandwagon and seek out products that have minimal or recyclable packaging. Many environmentally-conscious stores will institute BYOB (bring your own bag) in order to cut down on plastic waste, and traditionally single-use packaging (like storage bags typically used for sandwiches or snacks) will become multi-use.
Snacks are leveling up
It’s not enough anymore for customers to pack a bag of pretzels or a few handfuls of nuts for a midday snack – they want something more filling, and, quite frankly, more fun.
Snacks from the sea
An interesting category of snacks has taken hold of the market: snacks from under the sea. At first, this meant seaweed products, but now there are almost too many options to count. From kelp noodles to crunchy salmon skins – even products with algae as their main ingredient! – grocery consumers will be searching for these oceanic treats.
Cheeseboard for one, please!
Every party needs a cheeseboard, and we’ve grown used to seeing extravagant charcuterie spreads at even the most casual gathering. That obsession with bite-sized delicacies has invaded the snack sector, resulting in prepared offerings for the single snacker. Think: to-go packages of crackers, unique cheeses, toasts, and grapes. That’s the direction that snacking is heading in.
35% of shoppers say they are extremely likely to stop shopping a store after a trend in expired product purchases. Click to download our eBook on “The Impact of Expired Products on Supermarket Sales and Shopping Behavior”.
CBD goes mainstream
Once hush-hush ingredients, CBD and hemp are making their way out of the wellness space and into mainstream grocery applications. Today’s consumers are looking for their food to do more than satisfy – they want it to help them power up. CBD and hemp do just that, with calming properties and inflammation-reducing attributes. Look for these ingredients in products like CBD-infused sparkling water and gummy vitamins, as well as hemp-based waffle mix and dry pastas.
Sparkling water becomes a go-to
Speaking of sparkling water, the carbonated beverage is having its moment in the limelight this year. La Croix managed to capture our culture’s collective attention, enough to spur a number of brands to get in on the sparkling water action. In fact, according to a CBS report, “sales of seltzer, club soda, and sparkling water are up by double digits. They now total at least $2.2 billion a year.” Sparkling water brands like Bubly, La Croix, Hint and Spindrift are looking to drum up brand loyalty as this category continues to expand. Look for new flavors this year to keep your store’s supply up to date.
Meet the new superfoods
It seems like every year there are a new host of “superfoods” that wellness experts recommend we incorporate into our everyday routine. 2019 is no exception.
Sauerkraut just isn’t going anywhere. In 2018, we predicted that fermented food would be a hot commodity for those customers that were health-conscious, and we were spot on. This year, the general population’s focus on gut health will only increase demand for fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, miso, and yogurt.
Just as fermented foods are having their moment in the sun, researchers are seeking ways to include the benefits of probiotics found in those foods in shelf stable products. Foods like granola, soup, oatmeals and nut butters will soon carry the live and active cultures that customers depend on in order to keep their gut health in check.
Long thought of as a suitable side dish or garnish, mushrooms are making the move into becoming a main dish. Plant-based customers will find what they’re looking for in the texture and meatiness of a mushroom, and if you offer them a variety of options, you’ll come out on top.
Consumers want to have their cake and be healthy too
Where exactly does a sweet tooth fit into the health-focused food trends that we’ve discussed so far? Let’s just say that a few innovations have been made in the dessert category as well. This year, look out for dessert hummus, puffed quinoa and nut butters that will replace heavily-sweetened dessert toppings. Customers are always looking for a way to stay healthy while indulging their most rampant cravings – this is just one way that they’re accomplishing that feat.
2019 is set to be one of the most unique years yet for the grocery industry, not least of all because of innovations in prepared food and the opportunity for consumers to dictate retail trends. To keep up with their ever-changing needs it’s essential that you evaluate your current inventory and determine whether there might be space to integrate a few of these consumer grocery trends into your store this year.
One more trend to keep an eye on in 2019: consumers’ aversion to expired products. Find out just how much your shoppers value a commitment to freshness in our latest eBook. Just click the link below to download.