- Fresh departments including deli, bakery, meat, seafood and produce are retailers’ key to luring shoppers into stores, according a recent report from Nielsen. Top-performing retailers in fresh categories generated 43% of sales from perishable foods, the report found.
- Among all retailers, the seafood department represented 5% of in-store sales growth, followed by the deli (4.9%) and the in-store bakery at 4.2%.
- While more customers are making grocery purchases online, the report found that online shoppers spend 1.5% more on fresh food in-store than the average shopper.
E-commerce represents around 4% of grocery sales and almost one-third of total growth, according to Nielsen. So while digital investments are important, it's also important for grocers to focus on categories and products that still bring customers into stores.
Avocado, herbs, tomatoes, apples and berries remain produce items that consumers still prefer to shop for in-store because they like to feel and visualize the freshness. Across retailers, avocado sales are up 8%, and vegetables (up 4.9%) are surpassing fruit (up 0.3%) in sales. This indicates the importance of more variety and organic options, particularly in vegetables, in the department.
Retailers that are winning in the bakery department are attracting customers for everyday shopping in addition to special occasions, Nielsen reported. Many grocers are focusing only on sweets in the bakery, missing the opportunity to cash in on sales of bread and rolls, the report said. Earlier this year, Kroger began offering an artisanal bread assortment in its bakery while Aldi's bakery department is placed at the entrance of the store to lure shoppers with the smell of fresh bread.
Despite the assumption that meat drives the most perishable sales, Nielsen found that deli and produce contribute the most to perishable sales as consumers today scale back on their meat consumption. As a result, the top performing fresh retailers offer three times more plant-based meat alternatives than lesser performing retailers.