Gourmet products and regional specialties from around the world

Increased interest in home cooking has been driven by cooking shows on TV as well as Food Bloggers. Home cooking is suddenly seen as fashionable, fun and social. More importantly, it is healthy and cost effective. Supermarkets are responding with more premium food offers in their fresh aisles and more stores are using country of origin claims for their products. For example 18-month old prosciutto, 3-year old English cheese, or 30-day, dry-aged Wagyu beef.

Fair Trade and Ethical Food

According to different market research groups, global new product development in the Fair Trade and Ethical Food section has increased by 59% (2014 vs. 2013) Although chocolate was the market category by which the fair-trade concept initially came into force, a diverse range of products are now available with fair trade: Tea, coffee, juices, ice cream. The future in that segment looks strong and supermarkets should be aware of the constant changes and improvements in that product segment.

Organic Products

Consumers have a growing awareness of health and the environment. The drive for cleaner labels and the ambiguity surrounding so called “Natural Products” steers consumers in the Certified Organic direction. This is also fuelled by cleaner eating diet trends and eliminating all junk food, processed foods, sugar and food additives.

Total organic global product launches were 7.4% up from 5.8% the previous year. Interestingly global Natural Product launches have stagnated at 6.5%

Vegetarian Products

Vegetarian or meatless products are areas which profit from a continued focus on sustainability and health. Globally new product launches have increased by 24%. Vegetables are shifting to the centre of the plate. Famous chefs are showcasing vegetables on their menu and exposing their versatility. This will be a trend to watch.

Ingredients/Clean Label

Rising interest in healthy lifestyles and aging populations drive the interest for more healthy ingredients. Obesity and growing awareness of the link between diet and health are other contributing factors for healthier ingredients. Increased protein content in food and drinks is another trend which we are seeing right now. There is a 31% increase (2014 vs. 2013) in global product launches with increased protein content. The clean label trend is new to the North American market. However, 30% of consumers claim that clean labelling is a factor that influences their purchasing decisions.

Other notable trends are kosher, halal, local and also private label products.

Store Trends

More interest in Specialty Departments:

As big box retailers and convenience stores take away market share, grocery stores will focus on new developments in their specialty departments. New improvements are being made for deli, meat, fish, and bakery departments. Some grocery stores are hiring skilled butchers or fish mongers. There can be huge progress made by developing new, exciting food departments.

Part of the solution would be to get rid of 10 to15 year old deli cases and install new high tech, environmentally friendly, eye-catching cases. This has to go hand in hand with the overall rejuvenation of the whole department.

The time will come when supermarkets have to make a decision whether they want a full-service butcher store which includes the sale of pre-packaged meat.

Right now more supermarkets are eliminating the full-service butcher and are focusing on pre-packaged meat.

A new approach is needed. Why not sublet to owners of private butcher stores, so they can set up full-service butcher stores in supermarkets with prime locations? Those privately owned butcher stores could also offer specialty deli items. These initiatives need to be tested before a rollout on a larger scale can be made.


People go less and less to hyper-markets. In the future we will see smaller neighbourhood markets popping up. They will feature more local products, have a little restaurant with craft beer on tap, for example. Those micro-stores could also become a meeting point for the community.


In recent years supermarkets have concentrated on redefining their product assortment and have developed new planograms. One large company has made headlines for reducing 30% of their product assortment. Other companies are focusing on wider aisles to make the shopping experience more enjoyable. More focus should also be concentrated on better presentations in fish, meat, deli departments. Old dried out products should be removed from the cases. Most importantly, deli or meat showcase should be spotless at all times. That is, glass display cases must be cleaned on a daily basis.

Millennium Generation

This generation attracts more and more attention. The reason for that is an increased buying power. Supermarket management should learn more about the shopping habits of this generation.

A great number of this generation prepare meals at home. Another example of their habits is that they do not want to buy from companies with poor labor practices. They say they want to be better cooks. However, they do not look through cook books. They look at social media to find inspiration.

Online delivery:

Since the 1990’s, predictions have been made that online shopping would gain more and more influence. Now even traditional grocers are testing online ordering programs. Soon we will see grocers working together with “Uber” to deliver food to the customer. Before investing in online programs, grocers should ask themselves what the impact and true costs are.

These are only a few points which will affect supermarkets in the future. Each business has to make the decision for itself. Here it is important that cross-functional teams are being built in every organization. These “Innovation and Trend Teams” could send a store in a new and more profitable direction.

Please also have a look at my previous posts.

Nov. 30 Trends, Opportunities for Meat Companies

Dec   7   Craft Butchery Stores in North America. Trends, Opportunities and Challenges.

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