While being a grocery manufacturer in the US has its challenges, the grocery shopping experience has never been better. Out of the increasingly competitive grocery landscape have emerged a number of improvements that have changed the way Americans shop.
New technology has streamlined the full spectrum of the grocery industry. At one end, artificial intelligence and robots are being used to better manage inventory and allow shoppers to find items more quickly. And at the other end, cashier-less checkout a la Amazon Go and rapidly expanding grocery delivery services have both expedited and optimized the shopping trip.
Increasing competition amongst existing stores and footprint expansion of retailers has driven grocery prices down an average of 10%. Additionally, shoppers are demanding more variety in more stores and higher quality ingredients. A subtle bifurcation is underway in which mainstream and natural grocery stores compete at parity with one another and specialty stores become more and more niche in their selections to become “shopping destinations” for American consumers.
Arguably the most unique change to the US grocery landscape is the emergence of “amenities.” Fitness/yoga classes, live music, beer & wine bars, and free-standing restaurants are amongst the opportunities to draw shoppers into grocery stores for reasons other than restocking the fridge. This “hangout factor”, so-called Whole Foods, enhances the shopping experience aiming to increase the duration and enjoyment of each shopping trip.
Although the American grocery landscape is not without its challenges, the resulting improvements to the shopping experience make it a unique, rapidly changing, and exciting time to be in the industry.