Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 62 of 139

Samuel of IGD agrees, suggesting that specialty food vendors leverage technologies such as video shelf-edge labeling, augment- ed reality, and gamification to communicate their stories to consumers. "The challenges that currently exist around center store will become exacerbated if retailers and their suppliers don't partner up to create a more compelling and engaging experience in this part of the store," he adds. Specialty food producers should also consider how their products fit into a more foodservice-orientated retail environment, he says. "For some, it will be about tap- ping into the impulse opportunity; for oth- ers, opportunities could emerge in supply- ing products direct to foodservice," says Samuel. "This is going to be a key growth channel moving forward, and suppliers should assess the portability of their prod- ucts, especially as we see a big shift towards more snacking and eating on the go." For retailers, competing in the new environment will require f lexibility and a "deep understanding of today's consumer," says Balanko, citing such shifts as the trend away from being meal-centric and the focus on freshness and convenience. "Redesigning stores to prioritize fresh, less-processed foods and beverages that populate a continuum from scratch-cooking ingredients to fully prepared 'grocerant' menu items will resonate with consumers," she says. "Modern consumers want to— and can—choose the degree of involvement in their meal/snack preparation from none to extensive, ref lecting a demand for both retailers and manufacturers to innovate in the fresh-convenience space." Samuel says he sees specialty products being in more demand than ever in the emerging retail environment. "Many of the changes that we expect to see over the next five years create a perfect backdrop for specialty food suppliers," he says. "Retailers will use these types of products to drive differentiation, while many of the prod- ucts will appeal to shoppers showing an increased interest in health and wellness." Mark Hamstra is a freelance writer based in New York City. 6 WAYS TO REMAIN RELEVANT Stewart Samuel, program director at research firm IGD in Vancouver, B.C., said IGD has identified six factors that help retailers remain relevant in today's environment: 1. Create exciting destinations. "Much of this will be achieved through store design and the services offered, but the product mix will be an important element," says Samuel. 2. Excellence in fresh produce, meat, and seafood. "Service counters provide a great opportunity for retailers to add value in fresh foods," he says, citing the recent rise of the vegetable butcher as an example. 3. Rethink layout of large stores. "Increasingly, we are seeing more mission-based layouts emerge" to make stores easier to shop, he says. "Rather than a traditional category-based layout, products are being grouped together by mission, such as 'food-for-now' or 'food-for-later.'" Retailers will also rationalize assortments in some categories to simplify the shopping experience, as well as simplifying pricing and promotion. 4. Offer sophisticated prepared foods. Earlier this year Whole Foods Market opened its first standalone restaurant, while HEB introduced its first drive-through concept, Samuel notes. "The lines between retail and foodservice will become even more blurred," he says. 5. Invest in digital. "We expect more stores to enhance the physical shopping experience by merging some of the online channel's capabilities and making it easier to find products in-store and gain more product information, while moving to a simplified checkout experience," says Samuel. 6. Focus on health. "Grocery stores will become the healthcare centers of the future," says Samuel. "With an eye on future demographic trends, many operators are making strategic investments in pharmacy chains and clinical businesses. New retail formats and health-oriented services are emerging, while the space for natural, organic, specialty, and better-for-you products continues to expand. This will be a great opportunity for the suppliers in these categories, many of which are smaller businesses. 60 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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