What Shoppers Want From the Fresh Perimeter

What Shoppers Want From the Fresh Perimeter

The Return of Prepared Foods

Consumers also gained a greater appreciation for the value of quality prepared foods from the in-store deli during the pandemic. “Prepared foods are back because people are tired of cooking,” says Parker. “And they’re willing to pay more for quality and convenience.”

What Shoppers Want From the Fresh Perimeter

Fishing for Customers

While consumers discovered new and different seafood and preparations during the pandemic, their desire to return to more-healthful eating is now a driving force in seafood sales.

“Produce to me is the harbinger of every trend. It’s an early indicator of a new direction in consumer trends throughout the store,” asserts Parker, who points to salads and leafy greens making sales history.

Grab-and-go is the big story in deli meats and cheese. Demand for packaged meats and cheeses soared during the pandemic as many shoppers sought to avoid the service counter.

Staying ahead of evolving tastes and trends in fresh has always been a challenge for grocers—and then came COVID.

Bakery is another category with a pandemic journey story to tell. With offices and schools shuttered earlier in the pandemic, some shoppers traded up to better baked goods to pair with a morning coffee or a sandwich made and consumed at home.  

Despite supply chain hiccups during the pandemic, meat sales remained strong in the last year. And while meat sales have slowed recently, the overall picture for meat is bright, says Pete Swanson, senior consultant with the IRI Fresh Center for Excellence.

Many of the trends in fresh in the past year as well as the emerging perimeter trends of today are a direct result of consumers cooking more at home.