The retail market for foods and beverages is undergoing some of its greatest changes since supermarkets came to the fore in the 1940s and ’50s. Economic, demographic, lifestyle and technological changes have created not only a fertile environment but the absolute necessity for new concepts to engage shoppers, capture share of stomach, and re-invent food and beverage retailing.
While the greatest competition to supermarkets and grocery stores comes from supersized “one-stop shopping” venues like supercenters and warehouse clubs, the threat has spread out across myriad retail channels, including drugstores, dollar stores, limited assortment chains, and (the elephant in the room) online grocery shopping. Although supermarkets remain the majority force in food shopping, they are no longer calling the shots—a role now shared with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s on the natural/specialty side, Walmart, club stores, and dollar stores on the value front, and farmers markets and food trucks in trend-setting.
At the same time, 2012 and 2013 have been big years for mergers and acquisitions in the retail food industry, as strategic buyers and private investors seek a way to expand their businesses to additional markets. And while the economy has shown positive signs of recovery in the past year, many consumers remain buffeted if not traumatized by higher gas prices, rising food prices, mounting healthcare costs, and increased payroll taxes. As a result, most are still feeling economically squeezed and spending-shy.
The Future of Food Retailing provides in-depth analysis of trends in four key retail channels through which foods and beverages are sold:
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