Shoppers Boost Dairy, Deli, Bakery Sales with Trendy Buys
by Ashley Bates/staff writer
The dairy, deli and bakery departments of the supermarket are seeing new life this year as shoppers head to these parts of the store for newer, fresher, trendier items.
Yogurt dollar sales rose 7.0 percent to $5.2 billion in the food/drug/mass channel last year, according to Nielsen. The research group Mintel also reported that in 2010, Americans ate yogurt 7.5 times per month on average, up from 7.0 times per month in 2006.
Since the yogurt boom, brands have continued to expand, especially in the popular Greek yogurt section.
Deli visits also have seen an uptick in sales with 82 percent of consumers visiting supermarket delis that feature newer and trendier items. Shoppers are looking for fresh, local, and organic salads and side dishes.
Ethnic entrees such as chorizo and carne asada, as well as Korean short ribs, Polish kielbasa, carnitas and Serrano ham are becoming popular meal choices for customers, according to the “What’s in Store 2012” report compiled by the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA).
Also according to IDDBA research, the trendy ethnic items in delis include: crepes (27.6 percent), chipotle flavors (24.0 percent), hummus (23.4 percent), Korean BBQ (22.7 percent) and empanadas (21.6 percent).
A new cultural mix is shaping the retail food market, the report points out.
The U.S. Hispanic population, in addition to single-person households, are steadfast forces in the supermarket. Active Baby Boomers and newly empowered Millennials also drive many purchases.
The U.S. Hispanic population was responsible for more than half of the increase in U.S. population from 2000 to 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. That population growth will continue amid higher birth rates and steady immigration from this group. Hispanic buying power hit $1 trillion in 2010, and is set for a 25 percent climb to $1.5 trillion by 2015, according to The Multicultural Economy report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
Hispanic households spend more on groceries than the general population and tend to have larger families with nearly twice as many children under the age of 18. Also, Hispanic consumers are more aware of in-store promotions and less affected by advertising and product placements, according to the IDDBA.
Another major demographic affecting the grocery industry today are singles as these households have tripled in the last 30 years to 27 percent of U.S. households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Men are shopping more for their families as many men have been left jobless by the stagnant economy, and 51 percent of men said they are the primary shopper in the family, according to Advertising Age.
Catering to singles, male shoppers and other demographics are causing supermarkets to make convenience foods a top priority.
Ready-to-eat foods like chicken wings with homemade sauces and turkey wings continue to stay popular.
The bakery remains an important section of each grocery store since 16 percent of transactions include at least one bakery item, according to Perishables Group FreshFacts Shopper Insights.
Trends making a mark in the dairy, deli and bakery departments, according to IDDBA, include the “new normal,” meaning consumers are changing how they shop, and many shoppers are very concerned with value and transparency.
Also, cost- and calorie-conscious consumers are visiting in-store bakeries looking for mini-portion sizes—two to four bites—which also retail at a lower price point. Other examples of this trend are mini pies, cupcakes and cake pops, according to What’s In Store.
Shoppers want a wider array of sweet desserts, including gourmet (and sometimes unusual) doughnuts, crème puffs and sweet crepes. Some doughnuts are being topped with treats such as Fruit Loops and Rice Krispies treats; some are filled with fresh fruit preserves or gourmet chocolate.
Sales at in-store supermarket bakeries climbed through the first half of 2011, fueled by trends like smaller portion sizes, doughnuts and pies, according to What’s in Store.
The “free-from” trend is another idea becoming popular in in-store bakeries: foods free of gluten, nuts, allergens, and animal products are hot items, as are organic and non-GMO products.
Over in the dairy department, sophisticated cheese flavors and varieties continue to develop along with Americans’ collective palate, according to What’s in Store 2012. Cheese is one of the top culinary trends, along with local/farm/estate-branded ingredients, ethnic flavor interest, emphasis on children’s nutrition and simplicity.
“We’ve seen specialty cheese use in sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers growing,” said Alan Hiebert, information specialist with the IDDBA. “Cheese’s versatility, health attributes, association with cooking, snacking properties and local farmstead and artisan production will drive future consumption.
“IDDBA does not have data for cheese used as an ingredient at foodservice, but the fastest growing cheese varieties at retail include Hispanic varieties (queso quesadilla, Chihuahua, queso fresco, queso ranchero), gruyere, gouda, Havarti, and mascarpone,” he added.
Bolder flavors and artisan cheeses are two of the hottest cheese trends as consumers venture beyond younger-aged cheeses that are aged and more flavorful ingredient-filled cheeses.
Additions to cheeses in the deli case include truffle, chipotle, wasabi, horseradish, cocoa, saffron, apricot, pear and bacon, among others. Some retailers are even offering lower priced, private label cheeses, like Publix.
The three fastest growing cheeses at retail are Manchego, Gruyére and Gouda. According to Nielsen Perishables Group, almost 70 percent of U.S. households make service deli cheese purchases.
To offset financial hardship, consumers are eating at home more and 91 percent of households buy at least one in-store bakery item each year.
Over in the milk cooler, customers are grabbing enhanced milk more often. Aside from vitamin milk made with special blends that cater to kids, teens and women, there also are milk blends of cows’ milk and nut milks. Kids can get milk in flexible “squeezy pouches” with screw tops that make it fun to drink, as well as flavored varieties with less sugar and fewer calories.
More often consumers are looking to milk that is better-for-you and better-for-the environment with natural nutritional properties and sustainably produced, according to IDDBA reports.