While growing awareness of the connection between well-being and food choices has shifted consumer interest towards more nutritional grocery options, a lack of both accessibility and transparency across food labeling and marketing can create a frustrating shopping experience for consumers as they look to source fresh produce and verify ingredients. To optimize their food choices, access ingredient information on demand and receive in-the-moment support, consumers are turning to farmer’s markets, meal kit services, local suppliers and boutique health coaching services in place of their area grocery retailers and brands.
As grocery retailers and brands look to not only win back but expand their customer base, the health and wellness-focused strategies of independent shops, DTC brands and concept stores are laying the groundwork for improved service. By creating relationships with local farmers and suppliers, identifying food deserts and expanding accessibility, both in location and affordability, and determining how best to support customers throughout the grocery shopping experience, leaders across the grocery landscape are future-proofing their businesses by meeting today’s consumer expectations. In this report, PSFK explores how grocery retailers and brands are creating end-to-end consumer relationships and driving greater affinity through enhanced product selections, transparency, accessibility and on-demand wellness services.
Published June, 2021
A global disruptor such as the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted just how interrelated the supply chains of retailers, brands, and distributors were, leaving many companies scrambling to replace or reshuffle their operations based on shocks across the globe. Retail resilience requires having micro- and macro-approaches to development and distribution, relying not only on cost-reducing global channels, but also sustainable nearby systems that can respond to the region’s or community’s needs.Consumer Communities
Ensuring customers get the most out of a purchase by offering access to a likeminded community, expert resources, and related servicesCurated Merchandise
Consumers can buy a product from anywhere, but they can only find an identity in partnership with a trusted brand. At the same time, companies are facing increased competition from the marketplace and are looking to differentiate their offerings. As a result, companies are developing complementary content, products, services and stores that connect with the needs and passions of their customers. This includes collaborating with brands on one-of-a-kind merchandise to extend reach.
Whole Foods’ Portsmouth, New Hampshire location is going to extra lengths to feature local brands. The retailer's ‘foraging’ team, which identifies and cultivates relationships with local purveyors, has curated 700 local brands that will be sold at the store. The brands will sit alongside national brands and Whole Foods house-brands and will also be called out in certain locations as locally-sourced. Further building upon the theme of ‘local,’ the Portsmouth location will open with a ‘buy local, support local’ program that supports local hunger relief efforts through a dollar matching program. Similar efforts can be seen at other locations, including a hyper-local store in Tampa, Florida.Virtual store tours and coaching services support Hy-Vee customers' wellness journeys
To further support its customers in their wellness journeys, supermarket Hy-Vee is introducing virtual services and programs into its offering. Within Hy-Vee’s complementary virtual store tours, consumers are guided down the aisle as registered dietitians highlight where certain products can be located based on specific diet requirements, and recommend how to maximize healthy purchases within a set budget. Customers who are looking for additional levels of support throughout the end-to-end grocery experience can register for Hy-Vee’s four-week program, Healthy Habits, where they’ll receive a weekly menu programs that includes meal prep and cooking inspiration, a calorie-based meal plan, a shopping list, and weekly one-on-one sessions with a registered Hy-Vee dietitian.PlantX Opens First Physical Store in Canada
PlantX is a Canadian-based eCommerce company focused on selling all plant-based items ranging from food, to plants, and soon to include cosmetics, clothing and even its own line of water. The company has planted a flag in Squamish, Canada and opened up a physical location that features a curated selection of groceries and wellness items. Brands showcased at the store include Simply Organics, Nature's Path and Naked Foods, as well as popular brands like Beyond Meat and Very Good Butcher.