The Friday Checkout is a weekly column providing more insight on the news, rounding up the announcements you may have missed and sharing what’s to come.
With comparable-store sales growth slower for many grocers, the e-commerce jolt delivered by the pandemic mostly a memory and many shoppers focused on essential goods as they weather economic headwinds, it was no surprise that this year’s Groceryshop conference had a decidedly back-to-basics flavor.
In place of the futuristic, outer space-oriented theme the show sported in 2022, the 2023 version that took place this week in Las Vegas presented a no-frills atmosphere, with large soup cans welcoming visitors to one of the two exhibit halls, hallway displays framed with corrugated boxes and a simulated bodega complete with checkout counters offering free snacks to attendees.
Against that practically minded backdrop, vendors offering solutions designed to help grocers drive sales in-stores and boost efficiency stood out among the many products vying for attention on the show floor.
For example, refrigeration equipment maker Hussmann showed off large, electronic signs from its Aperion division optimized to draw shoppers’ attention to products in coolers alongside self-service lockers meant to keep products cold for pickup customers at supermarkets. In another aisle, SES-imagotag showcased narrow, full-color screens for shelf edges that can display price tags, product information and other video content as well as track the number of shoppers who stop by.
Self-checkout technology also had a prominent place at Groceryshop, with vendors such as Diebold Nixdorf and Toshiba presenting artificial intelligence-driven features like produce-recognition and theft-detection that can help grocers boost efficiency while cutting back on shrink.
To connect best with attendees, trade shows need to reflect the priorities that are on the agendas of the companies they serve while also nodding to the industry’s overall mood. With its pivot toward the essentials this year, Groceryshop accomplished that mission in spades.
In case you missed it
New Aldi fan merch embraces gorpcore trend
The German discounter’s fall collection of fan merchandise is here for U.S. consumers. Items include pullovers, travel mugs, canvas slip-ons, backpacks, beanies and pajamas in the grocer’s signature colors. Insider noted that the new collection took a cue from the gorpcore trend, which focuses on functional and stylish items for hikers, campers and outdoorsy people. (“Gorp” stands for “good ol’ raisins and peanuts.”)
Kroger redesigns Houston store with Hispanic concept
The grocery company has transformed the Southbelt/Ellington location in the city to better serve its Hispanic and Latino customers, a Kroger spokesperson told The Houston Chronicle. The changes to the store include Spanish-English signs, more Hispanic products, pre-marinated meats, ceviche and a juice bar, along with other new offerings, the paper reported.
The switch to more finely attune the store to local needs comes at a time when Kroger is trying to win regulators’ approval for its proposed merger with Albertsons, which has raised questions about how the companies’ combination could impact communities around the country.
Walmart unveils app, retail media changes
As part of several app updates, the retailer announced this week it has rolled out a subscription service that lets customers schedule repeat delivery for items like diapers, paper towels and pet food. Other new features include a newly expanded “View in Your Home” feature, new access to car care services and more as part of Walmart’s efforts to make its app “a gateway to a world of personalized convenience and savings.”
Walmart Connect, the retailer’s retail media arm, has recently added a sponsored video advertising format to help fuel holiday shopping inspiration, sister site Marketing Dive reported. The introduction of the on-site video ad solution aims to “break the barrier between upper-funnel campaign tactics and performance ad formats like Sponsored Search,” said Susanna Lee, Walmart Connect’s senior director of product marketing.
Number of the week: 82%
That is the percentage of consumers interested in knowing more about the “who, where and how of store-bought produce” from package labels and websites, according to a recent survey by the Southeast Produce Council (SEPC).
SEPC CEO and President David Sherrod noted this sort of messaging can be done effectively by using consumer-tested language, avoiding misconceptions and “keep[ing] it simple.”
United Natural Foods, Inc. Q4 results
The company is scheduled to release financial results for its fiscal 2023 fourth quarter on Tuesday morning, according to an announcement. The quarter, which ended on July 29, will give insights into how UNFI fared at the tail end of a tumultuous fiscal year.
One of Kroger’s latest TikTok posts shared a recipe for fried tequila shots — in other words, tequila shots disguised as cake. All you need is angel food cake cut into cubes that are then soaked in four ounces of tequila and lime juice. Pop them in the air fryer for less than 10 minutes and season with powdered sugar and salt — and voila!
The post has generated more than 35,000 likes — underscoring the power of TikTok to engage grocery shoppers.
@kroger Tag someone you want to try fried tequila shots with. ???? #kroger #angelfoodcake #friedtequila #cocktails #tequilashots #coolrecipes @Brittnee Alexus ♬ original sound - Kroger