It used to be that Kansas City grocery stores simply needed a good location, low prices and a broad selection of groceries to operate. Not so anymore. Today’s food consumer is more time-constrained, more aware of multi-ethnic and healthy food choices and more driven by unique experiences. Which means that today’s grocer has to offer a lot more than just groceries. Check out these trends that are changing the modern grocery.
With less time for cooking, today’s Kansas City consumers are looking at healthy, ready-meal choices. And they’re choosing the same way they used to choose restaurants. “What are you in the mood for tonight? Sushi? Italian? Thai?” According to Jim Hertel in his article, “Prepared Food Trends at Grocery Stores”, “Retailers will use prepared foods as a key differentiator.” Cosentino’s Market, once a fruit stand, now a 29-store business with a new store in Overland Park, gets it. The new store is in Bluhawk, a mixed-use development that gives Overland Park a close-by outlet center, sports center, civic center/arena, science museum, shopping center, restaurants, hotels and living spaces. Joyce Smith of the Kansas City Star reports that “Nearly one third of the store is devoted to prepared food and drink stations; Starbucks, a smoothies station, a confectionery serving gourmet popcorn and gelato, a self-serve hot buffet, sushi and Asian dishes, and hot, ready-to-eat chef meals.”
With less time to shop and more online options, retailers have to do more to attract customers. In her article “Rethinking the Grocery Shopping Experience”, Theresa O’Neil says that “today, consumers go to a store expecting to be entertained and inspired. Unique experiences allow consumers to connect with the brand on a deeper level.” Being able to grab a Tropical Smoothie, coffee or lunch and talk recipes with an associate all in the store turns a ‘To-Do’ experience into a ‘Want-To-Do’ one.
The farm-to-table trend has spawned the farm to grocery cart trend. In an article for Forbes, “10 Food Trends that will shape 2018”, Phil Lempert lists the #1 trend as mindfulness, which he describes as “a new consumer attitude to truly understand everything possible about a particular food or beverage and then support the company by aligning with its values and supporting it with purchases.” Which is why today’s consumers also want to know where that tomato came from and what the store that sells it stands for. Stores like Cosentino’s Market appeal to consumers because they sell local produce, have gluten-free, bulk and paleo sections and give back to the community by donating to local food banks.
So, when you think about all the trends that shape the modern grocery store, suddenly the name ‘grocery store’ doesn’t seem adequate.