The Grocery Dive Outlook on 2021

Catherine Douglas Moran/Grocery Dive

Note from the editor

From an e-commerce explosion to a wave of new customers and safety protocols ushered into stores, 2020 was a year like no other for the grocery industry. 

With 2021 well underway, grocers are no longer scrambling to keep shelves full and their supply chains intact. They're focused instead on operational improvements that will convert shoppers by necessity into customers for life.

As experts point out in our “Top Trends” story for the year ahead, improving online shopping will be a priority for retailers. This includes customer-facing changes like making apps and websites more compelling and easier to use. It also includes operational changes that improve order margins. Pickup, which has seen interest explode over the past year, is becoming a hotbed of innovation.

Online shopping competition and resurgent restaurants are also pushing grocers to revamp their loyalty programs, marketing initiatives and fresh meal offerings. Those that move quickly will have an advantage in the evolving food marketplace, industry observers say.

2020 also saw a new class of independent grocers eager to capitalize on increased consumer interest and use their stores as change agents in their communities. Grocery Dive spoke to three of these new retailers about their decision to start their own business and what their priorities are for the year ahead.

Fueled by digital shopping, rising competition and an ongoing health crisis, grocery retail is evolving faster than ever, and 2021 promises to be pivotal year for the many companies vying for consumers’ food dollars. We hope you enjoy this package looking ahead to some of the top issues facing grocers this year.

Jeff Wells Senior Editor

8 trends that will shape the grocery industry in 2021

After one of the most tumultuous years in recent memories, experts say 2021 will be the year grocers move from reacting to strategically managing for long-term growth.

• Published Jan. 4, 2021

Eager to innovate in pickup, grocers look to lockers and kiosks

These storage units save precious store space and offer time flexibility for shoppers, but they also come with limitations that could impede their adoption.

• Published Jan. 21, 2021

3 new grocery owners talk opening during the pandemic and what's ahead for 2021

In addition to the usual hurdles new businesses face, industry entrepreneurs grappled with store safety and scaling their e-commerce operations ahead of schedule.

• Published Jan. 25, 2021

The Grocery Dive Outlook on 2021

Fueled by digital shopping, rising competition and an ongoing health crisis, grocery retail is evolving faster than ever, and 2021 promises to be pivotal for the many companies vying for consumers’ food dollars. 

included in this trendline
  • 8 trends that will shape the grocery industry this year
  • How grocers will continue to innovate on pickup
  • What it was like to open during the pandemic for 3 new grocery owners
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Produced by our team of award-winning journalists, these Outlooks can help businesses navigate the uncertain road ahead in 2021.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.