A few years back I talked a lot about the stalled growth in the center of the grocery store, which is where frozen and packaged foods are merchandised. Now I’m talking about the center of the store growing again after years of being held back by the health-focused “fresh” movement that kept more consumers in the perimeter of the store.
As one of our clients, who plays in center of store, said: “We fell asleep at the wheel and took our eyes off the consumer.” They and other food companies began listening to their consumers and now offer products that meet their needs and wants. As more and more Millennials are moving into the busiest times of their lives juggling spouses, kids, and a career, they are returning to the center of the store and many of you have made that possible by providing more natural, simple ingredient solutions that also meet their convenience needs.
As I travel across the country presenting this year’s Eating Pattern in America I see real time eating patterns. The consumer today is engaging with categories through brick and mortar as well as online, and in the center of the store as well as the perimeter. There are more options available to them today than there were ever before.
With the majority of U.S. consumers eating at home, there is ample opportunity for food companies to build their center of store presence and increase their share of stomach. Both the perimeter and center of store now move in parallel and the frozen category’s importance is increasing at all occasions throughout the day. One certainty is that we all need to eat and the center of store offers up a variety of meal and snack solutions.