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Research finds new growth opportunities in food

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Retailers can win by addressing broader concepts of value

Research finds new growth opportunities in food

ARLINGTON, VA – Food retailers and their partners can find new growth opportunities by addressing consumers’ expanding definitions of value, according to research from FMI – The Food Industry AssociationOliver Wyman and Circana.

A study, Finding Growth for Food & Beverage at Retail: Winning Eating Occasions throughout the Day, offers a comprehensive examination of emerging trends and outlines strategic pathways for industry stakeholders to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing market.

“The research showcases how food and beverages that promote well-being, those that are competitively priced, and products that are decidedly convenient to buy and prepare, will ultimately earn shoppers’ allegiance,” noted Mark Baum, senior vice president of industry relations and chief collaboration officer at FMI. “We are witnessing shifts toward foodservice spending, a rise in digitization, and return-to-office protocols that all provide food and beverage retail with opportunities to improve how they deliver on what matters most to consumers.”

One of the key revelations of the research is the increasing demand for convenience among consumers, particularly evident in the morning and midday eating occasions. While 87% of morning eating occasions and 76% of midday eating occasions currently originate from home, there is a discernible trend towards food service, particularly among Gen Z and Gen X demographics, highlighting the growing preference for hassle-free dining experiences.

Sally Lyons Wyatt, global EVP and chief advisor, consumer goods and foodservice insights at Circana, emphasized the importance of time efficiency in consumers’ morning routines.

“Time is of the essence for Americans, especially when it comes to their morning routines,” Wyatt said. “Sixty-five percent of morning eating occasions are prepared in less than five minutes, and we see opportunities for new appliances that give consumers quick solutions, with the microwave gaining the most ground since 2020.”

As evening approaches, consumers are increasingly drawn towards versatile meal options that are easier to prepare and offer quicker cleanup.

“Dinner represents the largest financial upside for retailers winning at home relative to other eating occasions throughout the day,” said Randall Sargent, a partner at Oliver Wyman. “To increase their share of evening consumption, retailers and suppliers must offer solutions that are not only sufficiently convenient but also offer the varieties of cuisines and textures found in a foodservice offering.”

Steve Markenson, vice president of research and insights at FMI, highlighted the importance of storytelling in effectively communicating the value proposition of these solutions to consumers. “The insights demonstrate how our industry can be successful by capitalizing on consumers’ shifting habits, especially when companies consider dayparts, such as snacks, to inspire experimentation and create new memories through food,” he remarked.

The report — available here — also underscores the potential for exploring new channels and tapping into untapped market segments to further enhance consumer experiences. By competing for opportunities in channels primarily occupied by food distributors, industry players can broaden their reach and cater to the diverse needs of today’s consumers.


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