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What Shoppers Want From the Fresh Perimeter Now

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

The pandemic dramatically accelerated the pace of change in the fresh perimeter, sparking new and different shopper purchasing behaviors and necessitating a multitude of operational shifts. In this, WGB’s annual deep dive into the fresh perimeter with data and insights from IRI, we explore the trends and behaviors born of the pandemic that will sustain as well as what’s next for fresh.

This year, in addition to sales data that compares the 52 weeks ending July 11, 2021 to the prior three years, IRI provides a look at the last 13 weeks of fresh perimeter sales ending the same date.

“The last 18 months have been a rollercoaster for American consumers,” says Jonna Parker, principal with IRI’s Fresh Center of Excellence. “March through May of 2020 is always going to stick out as an anomaly because there was a very specific behavior that we only saw during that period, which was very much focused on stock-up. In the case of meat, there were supply shortages in May and June, and many delis were shut down completely. So, we’ve included a 13-week trend this year to provide a comparison with more normal shopping behaviors.”

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