More shopping options and mobile payments at checkout rank among the top trends for grocery in 2018, according to John Karolefski, veteran supermarket analyst and purveyor of GroceryStories.com.
Karolefski also predicts the launch of supermarket-branded meal kits, more wine bars and cafés in stores, and easily-accessed product information for curious shoppers.
“Consumers can expect a focus on convenience as grocers make shopping easier and more enjoyable in 2018,” he says.
Karolefski’s top trends for 2018 are:
More Shopping Options: To serve their customers better, more grocers will offer several different ways to shop. These options should satisfy everyone buying groceries. For example, shoppers at Meijer stores in the Midwest can shop in the store, order online for in-store pickup, order online for curbside pickup, and order online for home delivery.
Mobile Payment at Checkout: The number of supermarkets that enable shoppers to pay for groceries with their smartphone will expand rapidly in 2018. Safeway, Aldi, and some smaller grocers already accept Apple Pay in their stores. Look for many other grocers to follow by offering this payment service, in addition to Android Pay and Samsung Pay. Millennials will drive use of mobile payment at checkout.
More Eating and Drinking in Stores: Look for more grocers to add sampling stations for wine and beer to their stores. Shoppers will appreciate a beverage break from roaming the aisles for groceries. Also, more retailers will add in-store dining for shoppers to have a light lunch. In the Cleveland market, for example, some Giant Eagle stores are equipped with a wine bar and café. Its Market District supermarket in Strongsville, Ohio has a full-size bar next to a large dining area.
More Meal Kits: Companies such as Blue Apron and Plated have popularized mail-order meal kits, which contain pre-measured ingredients, recipes, and cooking instructions. Grocers such as Kroger and Publix Super Markets sell their own meal kits in stores. Expect more food retailers to do the same in 2018 as the $5 billion meal kit business continues to grow.
More Access to Product Information Shoppers want to know more about the ingredients in the food they buy than what is printed on the package. So, food makers over the last two years have made space on nearly 15,000 packages to place scannable QR codes, which take shoppers to a special website with detailed information. A major education campaign will take place in 2018 to make shoppers aware of the codes and prompt them to scan to learn more about the food they are buying.
About John Karolefski: John Karolefski writes about trends and development in retail food and beverage at www.GroceryStories.com. He is a 25-year veteran of reporting on the grocery business. His resume includes 15 years as senior editor of Supermarket News. He has appeared on TV (CNN) and radio (CBS and BBC) to discuss marketing trends.