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How to win in fresh in 2023: Forget one-size-fits-all

U.S. consumers in 2022 were nothing if not channel surfers. Tuned into a widening lineup of local retailers offering fresh food—with dollar stores doubling down on their food offerings (including fresh and frozen items) and discounters like Aldi and Lidl building up and out across the country—consumers were willing to shop around and try new retailer categories as they sought to ease the pinch of grocery inflation, which stood at 11.8% in December.

But it wasn’t—and isn’t—a matter of shoppers going to five different retailers every week to get the absolute best prices on all the grocery and household essentials they need, says Jonna Parker, director of IRI’s Fresh Center of Excellence. Rather, consumers showed last year they were open to trying new-to-them channels in search of better bang for their buck, but once they identified a winner, they wanted to shift more of their spend to that destination.

“If the price of everything is going up, do I really want to go to seven different stores to try to save money on seven different items?” Parker asks. “There is a small segment of the population who does that, but it is small.”

Illustration: WGB staff / Shutterstock