Hot Food Trends: Part 1 – Fresh Presents Challenges to Center Store
No one knows with certainty what the hottest food trends
will be over the next several years, but The Hartman Group has focused on the
“why behind the buy” to look at four that may have a significant impact on the
business. RetailWire will explore each in this and upcoming Discussions.
Consumers equate fresh with quality and, as such, a trend is developing that will see a gradual replacement of processed and packaged items with “fresh counterparts.”
In the past, according to an article titled 4 hot food trends written by Jarrett Paschel, Ph.D., consumers were attracted to the convenience and consistent quality of processed foods. Increasingly, however, many of those very same consumers came to be put off by the qualities they previously desired.
The result, according to Dr. Paschel, is that consumers are looking for fresh alternatives to the processed foods they currently eat. In the past, those options may have been limited, but the realities of a global economy combined with “flexible production and distribution systems” are giving consumers access to fresh alternatives not previously available.
A consequence of the move from processed to fresh could be the decline of the
traditional center store in grocery environments. Some supermarket operators
— Dr. Paschel cites Albertsons and Winn-Dixie — failed to take notice of the
shift from processed to fresh and the results were unfortunate, but all too
For perspective, Dr. Paschel does not predict the end or packaged foods. He does, however, conclude, “Packaged foods will continue to be increasingly marginalized in favor of fresh alternatives – the need to quickly transform their offerings, lest they be rendered irrelevant and obsolete in the years to come.”
Discussion Questions: Do you see fresh food alternatives
replacing processed/packaged items currently purchased by consumers? How do
you see the fresh food trend, identified by The Hartman Group, affecting grocers’
approach to center store?