“What’s for dinner?”
What has always been a question fraught with an overwhelming number of answers has become even more mind-boggling over the past few decades as Americans have adjusted their meals to fit dietary molds. The idea of “dieting” first became mainstream after World War II, when charts emerged that proclaimed there were ideal weights for individuals depending on their heights.
Now, weight loss is not the only outcome of popular diets. 2019 trending diets are focused on overall health, the consumption of fresh foods, and cutting out inflammatory ingredients. Not only do these popular diets affect what products you want to stock your shelves with, they can also have a major impact on your expired shrink.
Here’s what to watch for.
How 2019 Diet Trends Impact Expired Shrink
If you haven’t heard of the keto diet by now, you’ve probably heard of one of its offshoots: the Paleo diet, South Beach, or Atkins. Essentially, this diet is a low-carb, high-fat plan, where participants attempt to retrain their bodies to use a different fuel source.
“Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat,” says Harvard Medical School.
Originally developed to help children who have epileptic seizures, this diet has gained an almost cult-like following in health-conscious circles. You’ve probably already started stocking your store with extra keto-friendly products such as avocados, red meat, nuts and seeds, unprocessed cheeses, high-fat sauces and dressings, but you need to consider more than an adjusted inventory when you’re preparing for the momentum of the keto diet in your area.
If your customers become enamored with the keto diet, they’ll start to flock toward fresh foods and away from your center store. As a grocer, this means being even more diligent about center store inventory, as it may not move as fast as you’re accustomed to, and may contribute to increased expired shrink. A few items in this area of the store (mainly sauces, dressings, and nuts) may sell out quicker than you’d expect, resulting in more out-of-stock situations that could affect your bottom line.
Traditional rotating and spot checking won’t cut it if your customer base quickly becomes committed to the keto diet. To stay on top of shifts in your expired shrink and out-of-stock inventory, implement an expiration date management system that proactively notifies you when items are about to expire.
35% of shoppers say they are extremely likely to stop shopping a store after noticing a trend in expired product purchases. Click this link to read the rest of our study on the Impact of Expired Products on Supermarket Sales & Shopping Behavior.
Gluten-free diets have become popular as the general population has become more aware of their various sensitivities to food. The most likely adaptors of a gluten-free diet are those with celiac disease, but many health-aware individuals may cut this mixture of proteins from their diet in order to avoid any inflammatory reactions.
It’s likely that over the past decade your center store has become inundated with gluten-free options, from pastas and crackers to breads and cereals. After all, customers who may not want to include gluten in their diets deserve to experience the joy of other carbs!
The most important thing to note about your inventory is that gluten-free foods have a shorter shelf life. That means that when you’re placing orders, it’s important to take into account that popular gluten-free products won’t last as long as other items in your center store.
Pro tip: not every gluten-free items needs to live in your center store. Some grocers freeze gluten-free bread in order to extends its shelf life and avoid an expired product scandal.
Though likely to sell quickly, it’s integral to keep a detailed eye on your gluten-free inventory to ensure that an item doesn’t expire on your shelves. While it may seem advantageous to play into the gluten-free trend and place a large order of these diet-specific products, excessive ordering may lead to products expiring on your shelves before their short shelf lives give them an opportunity to sell-through.
Less of a diet and more of a lifestyle, intermittent fasting has taken the health world by storm over the past few years. Not only is this dietary movement known to help with weight loss, it also may even help participants live longer.
At its core, intermittent fasting is a dietary trend that encourages people to restrict the times when they eat. There are multiple methods, but one of the most popular is the 16/8 method where participants only eat during an 8-hour period of the day, typically skipping breakfast in favor of meals in the afternoon and evening.
So, what does this mean for your grocery store?
When it comes to intermittent fasting, your center store is likely to be the area most affected. In addition to a reduction in the purchases of breakfast foods like cereal or oatmeal, intermittent fasters are less likely to eat traditional snack foods since they are condensing their meal times into a short period. By eliminating those evening hour snack sessions, intermittent fasters will also cut down on their trips to your snack aisles, making those areas of your store ripe for expired shrink. Rely on your expiration date management software to keep you up to date on your close-dated inventory so you can take action before a customer finds an expired item on your shelves.
This diet is exactly what it sounds like: a meal plan made up of foods that are traditionally eaten in Mediterranean locations. With an emphasis on heart health, this diet trend encourages participants to eat mostly plant-based foods (whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables), olive oil, spices, fish, and an occasional glass of red wine.
This lighter fare has also been proven to contribute to a “reduced incidence of cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases,” says Mayo Clinic. “Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.”
The Mediterranean diet’s impact on your expired shrink is particularly interesting, because instead of focusing on cutting certain items out of one’s diet, it pushes participants to eat more of the foods that are proven to be healthy for them. Everything in your store from whole grain breads and crackers to canned beans and olive oil could move quicker than usual as a result of the increasing popularity of the Mediterranean diet. This may actually reduce the amount of expired shrink in regards to these items, but could force you to buy more product to keep up with demand.
Diet trends can have an impact on your expired shrink by making certain products move quicker than you’d expect, or more slowly. Traditional rotation and spot checking methods may not be enough to keep up with the onslaught of changes caused by evolving dietary trends in the United States. It’s time to turn to a digital expiration date management solution to ensure that you’re on top of your inventory, and that your customers won’t find expired products (or long-term out-of-stock notices!) on your shelves.