What do busy consumers want now more than ever? Convenience, of course. No one has time to make multiple grocery stops on their way home from a full day of work and then put together an entire meal (and frankly, who has the energy?). So it only makes sense that more consumers are embracing the ease of online grocery, convenience, and retail shopping to take some of the stress off their plate. Let’s take a look at some trends we’re seeing right now in the category.
- Consumers are melting over frozen foods.
Believe it or not, this is one of the fastest growing segments in Canada with 35% of Canadians turning to frozen food a couple days a week, on average. From entrées to desserts, frozen food provides a convenient solution for those who want to stretch their budget and reduce food waste. For example, fresh vegetables and fruit are not only more expensive, but they perish quicker than the frozen variety. So, it just makes sense that consumers (particularly the young Gen Zs and Millennials) would turn to this as a cost-efficient solution.
- People want planet-friendly packaging.
When it comes to ready-made food, consumers are here for it — as long as the packaging is eco-conscious. It turns out they’re just as concerned about the environment as they are with their food choices, with 77% saying that sustainable packaging is super important to them. With the ready-to-eat food market valued at $185.8M in 2023 and projected growth to nearly double that number by 2033, this is an area that can’t be ignored.
- Shoppers are shifting their shopping habits.
It’s no secret that food costs have risen over the last little while, and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact their day-to-day purchases have on their savings. One of the strategies Canadians are using to minimize their spend at checkout is to avoid the costly items. What’s more costly than anything else you buy at the grocery store? Meat. And 61% of consumers are buying less of it because of that. Add to that, more than half of shoppers nationwide are saying goodbye to national brands and are favouring more cost-effective, private label brands instead.
- Simplicity is still winning.
Keeping operations streamlined and simplifying the customer experience is still a growing trend in the industry and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Through the adoption of new tech, like mobile ordering and payment systems, online delivery platforms (like Skip), and data analytics tools, businesses can continue to simplify their operations while providing more efficient delivery service to their customers. Speaking of simplifying, some businesses are even trimming down their offerings and streamlining their product lines to bump up the efficiency.
- The emergence of the dark store.
Much like ghost kitchens are devoted entirely to carry-out, dark stores (or micro fulfillment centres) are devoted entirely to online grocery orders. It’s a concept that’s gaining momentum for its ease and convenience, as customers never set foot in the place. Instead they make their orders online and schedule home delivery or curbside pickup. And much like ghost kitchens, this is a win for business owners too, as zero revenue is spent on signage or POS systems.
As online grocery, convenience store, and retail shopping continues to grow, it’s an exciting time to be in this essential industry. And we hope these trends help keep you ahead of the curve.