New issue of Hartbeat Exec examines trends driving supermarket shopping and offers a glimpse at where the channel might be heading

full shopping cart

Shoppers have more choices today than a decade ago. The majority of shoppers now make one to two trips a week for groceries, visiting three different channels each week and averaging 15 visits a month. They shop discount, convenience, warehouse and online channels almost seamlessly. It’s no wonder then that supermarkets continue to lose share of America’s food wallet.

In our Q3 2016 edition of Hartbeat Exec, America’s Supermarkets in Transition, we update the key behavioral trends affecting supermarket shopping, which store regions and categories are driving growth, the specific magnet categories growing faster at supermarkets than at other channels and the future of neighborhood supermarket design.

The next ten years promise a major restructuring of the supermarket sector, and elements of that future are already operating today. We intend this issue to inspire those on the fence to make bold strategic pivots before they get caught in a strategic vise between slotting fees from CPG suppliers that allow them to procrastinate and reactionary deep discounting as they attempt to fend off Walmart’s Neighborhood Market and the phalanx of emerging hard discounters.

Here is a snippet of what’s inside:

Download Harbeate EXEC supermarkets in transitionThe rise of the supermarket channel was a complex cultural process, one that consolidated food shopping from many complicated haggles into just one cart-filling exercise. As this new culture of food procurement embedded itself into the American mainstream, new trends simultaneously emerged that would redefine our relationship with food.

The first major change was that supermarkets became the incubation sites of the major processed food brands. These chains offered a) the promise of consistency over ‘unpackaged’ bulk and artisanal foods, b) exclusively distributed and exciting new branded beverages and snacks and c) more reliable profits to food retail owners (especially when brands began to pay fees to guarantee shelf space).

The second, even more critical, change in the twentieth-century supermarket happened in its latter half. As more and more women became professionally employed and as their desire to spend leisure time on entertainment and parenting (not cooking) grew, we began to deprioritize complex scratch cooking. We have now become a nation of par-cookers, snackers and meal assemblers, where jarred pasta sauce is now considered an ‘ingredient’ and where meal components are literally just heated (i.e., microwaved, boiled, braised, fried) and then assembled on the plate.

To learn more about the key supermarket behavioral trends, deconstructing supermarket growth drivers, and the supermarket of the future, download the free Hartbeat Exec: America’s Supermarkets in Transition.