October 8, 2014
There’s a lot of talk lately about how ‘center store’ at supermarkets is shrinking. If you’re not familiar with that terminology, what it means that the outer edges of supermarkets – typically where the produce, dairy, meats, deli, and prepared foods – are now taking up a greater footprint in stores. Since stores aren’t necessarily adding square footage, this means that something has to give and it is ‘center store’ – the shelf stable products that encompass everything from cereal to ketchup to boxed couscous – that are losing out because as center store shrinks it means there’s less shelf space for them and thus fewer brands are getting onto the shelves.
So how do food companies who want to sell in ‘center store’ deal with this? In order to keep their foothold, food brands are constantly looking for ways to reinvigorate their brands or update their flavors to make sure that they are constantly appealing to consumers – all based on solid market research around what it is customers actually want.
Beyond that, center store products also need to think about ways that they will be able to entice new customers to try their products be it through marketing and/or price reductions.
Lastly, food companies are looking for ways to bring themselves and their products into the store perimeters as well. This can be achieved by offering products and/or packaging sizes that compliment the store’s own grab-and-go food section. In some stores, all grab-and-go products are produced in-house but others purchase their grab-and-go items from third party companies. In this later case, you may not have a branded presence at the store so customers may not know it’s your product they’re picking up from the hot bar, but it can be an opportunity for increased unit sales in stores where your opportunity to get into center store would be an uphill battle.