Last week, the Twin Cities’ largest grocer, Cub Foods, opened its smallest store yet — a 46,000-square-foot location anchoring a five-story apartment complex in Minneapolis' Longfellow neighborhood.
The store features an array of foodservice offerings. A Refresh! coffee shop and creamery serves up ice cream sandwiches, shakes, sundaes as well as drip coffee and espresso brewed by Caribou coffee. There's a popcorn stand, panini and sushi bars as well as a burrito bar with custom burritos, bowls, and salads. A kombucha bar features flavors like blueberry mint, coconut lime and lemon ginger, which are sold in 16-ounce cups or 32- and 64-ounce growlers.
Cub remodeled 10 of its stores last year and plans to remodel another this year. More store remodels are expected to be announced after the retailer’s new fiscal year begins in August.
The new store, which was announced last year, comes as United Natural Foods, Inc. continues to shop the chain around. No buyers have yet emerged, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. UNFI recently shuffled its leadership ranks, naming Mike Stigers CEO of Cub. Anne Dament, formerly vice president of retail, private brands and marketing, has left the company along with Chad Ferguson, Cub's former president, according to the paper.
Extensive deli department steers towards convenience
Cub’s new store will feature a large deli where customers can purchase made-to-order meals, its signature Quick & Easy meal solutions as well as a soup and salad bar, fresh meats and specialty cheeses.
By offering specialty meat and cheese options, Cub is tapping into growing demand for specialty selections. According to a 2018 report from the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association, specialty cheese are gaining popularity, with retailers often sampling new variations through in-store delis. The Food Marketing Institute's recent Power of Meat report shows that meat and poultry sections of the grocery store are the most common destination for 79% of shoppers.
In-store juicery targets health-conscious consumers
Premium juice has been growing in popularity over the past decade, with the cold-pressed juice market expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2024. Cub's Juicery features cold-pressed juices, smoothies, infused waters and freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit, tangerine juice.
According to IBISWorld, juice and smoothie bars like Jamba Juice and Smoothie King have grown by 1.8% to reach $3 billion in revenue over the past five years.
Fresh produce hits the spot
Cubs’ produce department will feature more than 200 organic items including fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which are locally sourced.
Across the industry, traditional grocers are trying to draw consumers back to the produce department. Just 34% of millennials recently surveyed by FMI reported a supermarket as their primary source for produce as these urban and high-income shoppers seek out pre-cut produce, locally sourced, organic and specialty assortments.
Promoting Minnesota grown
In its new store, Cub is honing in on the consumer demand for local by offering Minnesota grown produce and flowers. Locally grown products raked in $20 billion in sales in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.