Discount stores, dollar stores, drug stores, convenience stores, housewares stores, even home improvement stores are selling boxed, bagged, canned and shrink-wrapped groceries. Supermarkets, in return, are shrinking inventories of packaged goods in favor of fresh and prepared foods. Grocery retailers are looking in several directions to make up for the dropping volume of center store items, including work stations where home cooks can use prepped and portioned ingredients to create a meal that can be cooked at home. Grocers are also adding in-store restaurants as well as meal kits and ready-to-heat/ready-to-eat takeout offerings.
Power Player Royal Ahold Delhaize USA, whose banners include Stop & Shop, Giant, Food Lion and Hannaford, has spent nearly three years upgrading its produce departments, according to John Ruane, senior vice president for fresh. This includes adding exotic fruits and vegetables, relocating seasonal and cut-up produce to the front of the store and training associates who stock the displays to ask themselves, “Would I buy it?” in an effort to eliminate overripe and damaged items.
Ahold Delhaize’s Food Lion chain is remodeling 93 stores this year in the Greensboro, N.C., market and another 71 in Richmond, Va. Upgraded perishable offerings are key, with the retailer telling customers it is making things “easy, fresh and affordable” for them during the remodels. As Food Lion President Meg Ham puts it, “We want to ensure our customer can easily find fresh, quality products to nourish their families at affordable prices.”