And so the idea of—perish the thought—“good enough” came to the fore in the fresh department. Maybe that new discounter or the warehouse club that’s been on the edge of town forever doesn’t have *the* biggest and best assortment of fresh perimeter items in town, but if the price is right both in fresh and throughout the store, is it good enough? That was many consumers’ calculus in 2022, Parker says, and that was what drove sales growth and grocery share gains for the likes of BJ’s Wholesale Club and Walmart.
“Folks have so much pressure on their wallet,” Parker said. “If they were already somewhere and receiving what they perceived to be value in their other household needs, why wouldn’t they (stay)? We saw market shifts of multiple percentage points toward mass, super and club … Shoppers are showing that when it comes to everyday fresh items, sure, they may not be of the quality or variety of a high-end supermarket, but again, they’re good enough.”
The challenge in 2023 for those that took share in 2022 is to maintain their new fans’ enthusiasm should inflation continue to moderate. For retailers that struggled, Parker says, it’s imperative to find creative ways to resonate with a not-one-size-fits-all consumer—a consumer for whom a promotional price of a single fresh staple (say, milk, bananas or ground beef) isn’t enough to drive shopping destination decisions in a given week.
“There is a tremendous opportunity to recognize that it’s so much more than price that is driving the overall majority of fresh food (sales),” says Parker.