Header image 1400-550.jpg

The Future of Food Retail in North America, Part 2: The rise of fresh-focus retailers

Posted in Trends Written by Chris Schotsman

In my last blog post, I talked about how we may be witnessing the end of the traditional supermarket — a positive shift towards customer-centricity that will benefit both the customer and retailers. In Part 2 of our “Future of Food Retail in North America” series, I’m going to look at one of the first stages of the evolution of the supermarket: the rise of “fresh-focus” retailers.

The simple fact is, a lot of people want healthy, fresh food these days. And following the good old rule of supply and demand, where there’s demand, retailers will be there with supply. That’s why we’re starting to see some really amazing and esthetically beautiful fresh-focus retailers popping up all across North America like Farmboy, Sunripe, Organic Garage, Nature’s Emporium or Goodness Me.

There has also been a change in where consumers prefer to buy certain things. For example, we are seeing more and more millennials shopping at wholesale retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club or even online retailers like Amazon for packaged food and supplies (which saves them money) and those same consumers are buying fresh meats, produce and baked goods from specialized stores or fresh-focus retailers. They are also taking the savings from the packaged items, and using the money they save to invest in higher quality fresh food — including some affordable luxuries like cheese.

This movement gives retailers flexibility. Fresh-focus stores can be smaller because the typical amount of grocery shelving is minimal. They can be more flexible with inventory - they only stock seasonal products that move faster, instead of filling up lots of shelves and displays with items that may not move as fast.

Consumers have faith in expertise

While some of the bigger supermarkets are jumping on this bandwagon and offering more fresh and organic foods, a retailer that offers mainly fresh options can give the consumer more choice and, frankly, a higher degree of expertise and trust. When you go to a specialized retailer, at the very least it gives the impression that they know what they’re doing when it comes to their area of specialization, that they’re offering you the right options and can offer personalized advice. That’s what a fresh-focus retailer can do.

Experience fresh food with fresh ideas

A focus on fresh food also gives retailers the opportunity to explore outside-of-the-box ideas. We’re all very familiar with the idea of a meat butcher, who slices up your meat just the way you like it. But what about a produce butcher, who can similarly slice and dice your carrots, peppers and all your other veggies with an expert flair? You can also find things like noodles made from vegetables like carrots, parsnip, sweet potato and zucchini.

A whole new shopping experience

Inside – and this is where we in the display industry come in – these retailers can create a whole new experience for customers to enjoy and explore, with new design ideas, including modern, bright colours, or even looking to the past with rustic or antique themes. They can set up eat-in areas where customers can stop and order a delicious pastry, savoury sandwich or fresh pasta, then eat it on site, while the delectable sights and scents around them tempt them to bring home more fresh foods.

Do you want to focus on fresh? If you’re a food retailer, hopefully, you’ve got a fresh-focus store nearby to explore and draw inspiration from. Whether you do or not, Cayuga Displays is always here to help you create a fresh food section in your store, or even help you design an entire fresh-focus shopping experience.

In our next post, we will explore the return of the mom and pop store.

View All Posts