Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
Focus on Natural Supermarkets
Prior to the 1990s, few natural food stores in the United States were large enough to meet the supermarket definition of $2 million or more in annual sales; retailers were mostly independents operating fewer than 10 outlets. But the funky health food stores of yesteryear have morphed into large natural foods supermarkets that are modern, bright and rival mainstream supermarkets in product range. Besides focusing on organic and natural formulations—and on selling products from environmentally friendly producers—natural food retailers emphasize high quality. The price premiums associated with such foods dictate that most stores be located near households with above-average incomes. As a result, the growth of natural foods supermarkets has taken place mostly in major metropolitan areas and affluent suburbs. Whole Foods Market, Inc. is by far the largest natural foods supermarket chain, with approximately $8 billion in sales in the fiscal year ending September 28, 2008. The chain acquired its main rival, Wild Oats Markets, in August 2007.
Although still outperforming the overall grocery sector, major natural supermarket retailers report that they are feeling the negative effects of the down economy. For example, Whole Foods, which has 271 stores, plans to reduce its number of store openings to 15 by September 2009 from the 25 to 30 announced in May 2008, and has lowered its sales outlook for 2009, saying it expects sales growth of 6%-10% for the year, down from its previously stated 25%-30%. The company has also implemented cost containment measures including reductions in capital spending and the suspension of quarterly dividends. Commenting on the moves, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey told the press that “Our business model has been highly successful, and we remain very bullish on our growth prospects however, the challenging economic environment appears to be negatively impacting our sales. This, combined with our commitment to maintaining financial flexibility and investing prudently in our long-term growth, has led us to take a more conservative approach to our growth and business strategy over the short term” (company press release, August 2008).
The key frozen food categories in natural foods stores are basically the same as those in conventional supermarkets: frozen dinners/entrées, frozen pizza, frozen meat/poultry/seafood, frozen vegetables, frozen appetizers/snacks, frozen desserts, and frozen breakfast meals, among others. According to Rick Moller, Category Director of Natural and ...In the News
Consumers Ease Mealtime Budget Crunch with Frozen Foods
New York, April 9, 2009 - In a world of compromise, frozen foods are emerging as the preferred medium between the extremes of frequently dining at restaurants and cooking time-consuming meals at home. Estimates reveal that U.S. retail sales of frozen foods and beverages through all retail channels totaled almost $52 billion in 2008, according to Frozen Foods in the U.S., 2nd Edition, a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts. The figure reflects a 6.5% gain over the roughly $49 billion achieved in 2007.
Whether eaten at home with family or “brown-bagged” to work for lunch, frozen foods offer a convenience that appeals to American consumers with little money and time to spare. Innovative convenience—such as a new cooking method that preserves taste, texture and nutrition—ranks high in consumer draws. And though health and wellness attributes are also key to success, indulgence is still in the mix as evidenced by popular products that either boast premium ingredients or offer decadent taste experiences in lighter dish formats. Ultimately, sheer convenience is still king among attributes consumers crave the most.
“It’s no coincidence that some of the fastest-growing products in the frozen foods market benefit from having a convenience edge such as portability, being ready-to-eat or offering no-mess consumption and easy clean-up. Packaging formats cashing in on this angle include single-serve pouches, portionable packs and ‘servings for two,’” says Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts.
Such convenience- and health-targeted introductions are expected to carry the market even after the recession is over. Packaged Facts projects that retail sales of frozen foods and beverages through all retail channels will reach almost $65 billion in 2013, an increase of more than 25% or $13 billion over 2008 revenues.
Frozen Foods in the U.S., 2nd Edition examines the U.S. market for frozen foods and beverages sold to consumers throughout the entire retail spectrum, focusing primarily on savory meal-type items and meal components. The report provides extensive retail sales breakouts, along with a thorough examination of market drivers, the competitive situation, marketer and brand shares, marketing trends, and consumer trends. The report also covers topics including organic and “green” appeals, competition from fresh meal solutions, shifts in the retail landscape and global new product trends.
About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.