How do the grocery sector keep momentum in the new normal?

How do the grocery sector keep momentum in the new normal?

11 Mar 2021

Author:Dorte Wimmer, director, Retail Institute Scandinavia

This past year has been a very unique one for the grocery sector around the world. Revenue has been historically high, and logistics have for many companies been pushed to the breaking point. Demand, and not least consumption, suddenly changed from one day to the next, and the grocery sector took the challenge and welcomed new opportunities with open arms.

But the great increase in demand and revenues in the industry is driven by the known fact that the grocery sector (both within food and non-food) has enjoyed monopoly-like conditions for long periods of time over the past year. The forced closure of rest of retail as well as restaurants has resulted in extremely favorable conditions.

The big question is what happens when everything reopens? And what initiatives should the grocery sector – both brands and stores – put into play to defend themselves in what will be a great battle for the consumers’ attention once they are able to enjoy society as we knew it pre-corona?

Below are three points for areas of action that can ensure growth on the other side of the pandemic in the grocery sector.

The local connection

47% of consumers will do more of their shopping in local stores in the future, and half of consumers will buy more locally produced products1. Thus, there is a great potential in creating a strong foothold in the local environment for the store as well as optimizing the store’s assortment with local products. For brands, it is important to create a local connection through storytelling.

Green is the new black

Healthy living was a trend well before corona, but there is no doubt that is has gained renewed strength during the pandemic. Just over half of consumers will take greater care of their health in the future2, why products with health benefits or products that in some way contribute to a healthy lifestyle should be in the forefront.

Further, sustainability has become mainstream. “Green” should not only be considered in relation to the product itself, but also concerning logistics, packaging, production – with other words; the entire value chain as well as your purpose. For 45% of consumers, sustainability and responsibility is crucial in deciding where and what to buy, and the number is increasing3.

The shopping basket of the future is green, both in content but also in the form of a sustainable store.

Cooking has made a comeback

While an increasing number of consumers have outsourced cooking for the past many years, the global pandemic has resulted in them finding their way back to the pots and pans in the kitchen. Seven out of ten consumers cook at home on a daily basis, and they also like to spend more time on it than previously4.

When society does fully reopen, the momentum cannot be sustained, but there is no doubt that brands and stores in the grocery sector right now have a golden opportunity to maintain the consumers in the good habits of cooking homemade food more frequently than before corona.

1 Retail Institute Scandinavia, 2020
2 FactiCom, 2020
3 Retail Institute Scandinavia, 2020
4 Retail Institute Scandinavia, 2020