Diversification of retail channels where fresh food is purchased and a slowly contracting fresh market share for supermarkets is one big U.S. trend recognized in a new global survey of retailers from the Nielsen Perishables Group.
The report, “Why Retailers are Keeping it Fresh,” was compiled from online and in-person surveys of 87,000 people in 58 countries, according to the Nielsen report.
More than half of those surveyed said rising prices diminish their purchases of fresh foods.
A slow evolution in consumer preference for retail formats is one forecast for the U.S., according to the Nielsen report.
By 2016, the report predicts U.S. retail fresh dollar market share for supercenters/hypermarkets will climb to 15%, up 1% from 2012. The share of fresh sales at U.S. warehouse clubs will rise to 12% by 2016, up 2% from 2012. In contrast, the share of fresh sales at U.S. supermarkets will decline from 66% in 2012 to 64% by 2016.
“Fresh as a commodity market is changing and can no longer just rely on strategies that are determined by supply and commodity prices,” Bruce Axtman, president of Nielsen Perishables Group, Chicago, said in the report. “Suppliers and retailers are slowly but surely transitioning to the consumer-packaged goods style of category management based on the knowledge of both consumer and performance data to better understand how various consumer groups purchase fresh foods differently, at which stores, and at what price points.”
For the U,S., consumers shop for fresh foods about 1.4 times per week, compared with the average of 2.5 times per week for all global consumers.
In Asia, the Nielsen survey said fresh foods — bakery, deli, meat, produce and seafood — account for as much as 60% of consumer expenses on food, grocery and personal care items. European consumers spend an average of 53% on fresh foods as a share of total food and grocery purchases.
In the U.S. fresh foods account for just 30% of consumer expenditures on food, grocery and personal care items, according to the survey. Fresh produce accounted for 32% for fresh category sales in the U.S., second only to the meat department’s 39% share.
Axtman said in the release that the fresh food category is increasingly complex, with more variety in products, brands/private labels, package sizes and value-added options.