Fresh Food

Fresh Categories Driving Growth: Nielsen Report

Fresh, perishable foods generated more than $177 billion in sales over past year
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In a climate where consumers increasingly demand transparency and wholesome ingredients from the foods they eat, the fresh category has grown to become a sizable growth opportunity for retailers and consumer goods manufacturers, according to a new report.

The latest Total Consumer Report from New York-based market research firm Nielsen reveals that fresh categories within the U.S. are driving nearly 49% of all dollar growth across the fast-moving consumer goods brick-and-mortar landscape, generating more than $177 billion in sales within the past year.

In an effort to shed light on grocery “blind spots,” Nielsen’s Total Food View offers companies visibility into in-store competition and opportunities inclusive of UPC and fresh random-weight products, beyond the constraints of a specific category or aisle. With growth in e-commerce, clean snacking and fresh meat, retailers and manufacturers have the opportunity to realign their approach based on how consumers experience their grocery shopping occasions as total food shoppers.

“I learned the importance of fresh firsthand while working in retail,” said John Tavolieri, president of U.S. FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and retail and chief technology and operations officer. “To win shoppers over, fresh has to be integral to a broader, more connected total store approach that goes beyond category management. With a Total Food View, marketers can capitalize on adjacencies, reveal unseen competition and make cross-category connections to uncover business blind spots—enabling the ability to better meet the demands of today's highly selective and savvy consumers who are looking to lead healthier lives."

According to the latest Total Consumer Report referencing Nielsen Total Food View data:

  • E-commerce is still maturing within food and beverage, and fresh perishables are a growing opportunity. In the past year, online food and beverage sales represented 13% of the overall dollar volume seen online. However, opportunity still exists in the perimeter of the store, as fresh and perishable foods generated sales nearly 14-times as high as all online food and beverage sales this year.
  • On-the-go fresh produce fails to keep pace with clean snacking. U.S. consumers are not choosing on-the-go fresh produce offerings as frequently as they choose other snacking options, as on-the-go fresh produce declined by nearly 2% in dollars and 6% in unit volume over the past year. Meanwhile, salty snacks grew nearly $1 billion year over year. Clean label products represented over one-third of salty snack dollars in the past year. Retailers and manufacturers can appeal to consumers’ demand for transparency through their labeling and capitalize on shoppers’ interested in “responsible” snacking.
  • In the battle of burgers, frozen is still winning, but fresh is catching up. Alternative protein growth remains strong. Frozen meat-based burgers have seen 2% dollar growth from last year, but fresh meat burger patties (+8%) and prepared burgers from the deli section (+15%) are growing. Plus, opportunity is bountiful within the alternative protein sector, with dollar sales growing nearly 21% in the past year.

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