Summer 2018: Kroger’s Top Food Trends

Here are the top Kroger food trends of summer 2018 to watch out for and enjoy.

1 – Snacking that’s Better for You

With a busy summer, consider raising your standards for on-the-go snacking especially when out and about during road trips, soirees, and picnics. You can take your pick from hydrating with the new sparkling coconut water, fun twists on seltzers, and healthy snack bars. You can choose from Kroger’s Simple Truth Date Bars, Simple Truth Seltzer waters, or Simple Truth Sparkling Coconut Water.

2 – Alcohol Flavored Foods

Summer brings together families and friends to enjoy the sunshine outside and partake in good food. And what better way to imbibe on alcohol without the side effects of being tipsy? Enjoy alcohol-infused food and flavors, of course! Enjoy booze-infused eats, bourbon-infused cola, and even wine-infused steak sauce. Check out Brown Butter Bourbon Truffle Ice Cream to beat the heat or Private Selection Wine Infused Steak Sauces to add oomph to your BBQ parties!

3 – International Flavor

Gustatory delights are just around the corner with new and exciting flavors all over the world. Delight your senses and palate from African Peri Peri to Korean inspired sauces. Try Kroger’s General Tso’s Chicken Potato Chips, Private Selection Wing Sauces, and Private Selection 24-Hr Marinated Jerky to name a few.

4 – Comfort Food

Get nostalgic and remember your childhood days with traditional dishes reinvented to wow your palate. Now that you are a grown-up, you also want to try grown-up renditions of old-school soda pop flavors, pimento cheeses, and even mac & cheese. Interested? Try out Kroger Real Sugar Sodas, Private Selection Mac & Cheese sauces and Kroger Deluxe Ice Cream.

5 – Cocktails and Meals—No Waste

What does that even mean? Well, America is widely known to be wasteful, and to minimize food waste, this is the solution to the dilemma. Did you know that 40% of the food produced each year in this country goes to waste? And did you also know that 1 out of 8 American is hungry? To combat this, consumers are getting more creative when it comes to repurposing ingredients, storing food to extend freshness, buying only what you need, meal planning, and even getting inventive with leftovers.

6 – Flexitarian Lifestyle

Flexitarian is a person who is primarily a vegetarian but sometimes eats fish or meat. It was noted that flexitarian practices are in the trend where people tend to eat vegetables as a significant part of their diet. However, they also enjoy poultry, fish, meat, and dairy on occasions. However, with the innovation in the food industry, there’s so many to choose from the meat-free and dairy-free alternatives that ooze with flavorful enjoyment with each bite. With these options, buyers can have a better-for-me and flexible decisions due to the options available. Kroger choices can be Simple Truth Meatless Crispy Tenders, Simple Truth Meatless Stuffed Cutlets, and Simple Truth Meatless Patties and Crumbles to name a few.

Inspired by

Watching The Moving Target On Consumer Preferences

For several years already,  consumer preferences have placed importance on their health and wellness. In the recent American Bankers’ Association annual convention, Todd Hale noted that while people want healthy foods, they also want to indulge. Fortunately, there is a growing trend of healthy indulgent categories. For instance, favorite comfort foods such as pies and other specialty desserts have experienced growth according to Nielsen data.

Retailers Take Advantage of the Desire for Freshness

There is an increasing desire for consumers to eat sweet goods that are fresh. Most consumers prefer fresher products, and this fact is used as an advantage by retailers. Food manufacturers use specialized packaging on cakes, cookies, and donuts. Moreover, they also place these products around the store so that consumers can easily access them and not just go to the center store anymore to get them. Another strategy that retailers do is to use technology such as television screens to showcase their indulgent offerings.

Retailers know that consumers who are not afraid to indulge are likely to gravitate towards eating healthy. Jones-Barber from Dawn’s Bakers Truth noted that with the changing trend of people wanting to eat healthily, it is the role of food manufacturers and retail companies to deliver products that are healthy and also satisfies the indulgence of consumers.

Today’s Consumer Preferences Driven by Transparency and Truth

Aside from eating healthy, consumers also demand transparency and truth. This is the reason why many food manufacturers including Kroger are now jumping on the bandwagon for organic brands that come with clean labels. Consumers are now opting for food products wherein they know what they are made from or where they come from.

To date, there is a multitude of food manufacturers that create products with clean labels. Health-conscious individuals are also leaning towards products with a clean label because they are deemed healthier as they don’t contain preservatives, additives, and synthetic color and flavor.

Health and Wellness is a Moving Target

While it is easy to say that food manufacturers should focus on creating healthy products, it is often considered by food manufacturers as a moving target. The thing is that the term “health and wellness” can mean different things to different consumers.

Food manufacturers still need to define what their consumers think about “health and wellness.” Consumer feedback is essential for food manufacturing and retailers to address the needs of their consumers. This is the reason why there are so many products like trans-fat-free, sugar-free, and other ingredients that make a particular product more appealing to health-conscious consumers.

The ever-changing preferences of consumers make food manufacturers adapt to the ever-changing needs thus creating a wave of food trends along the way and demanding innovation from food manufacturers. And because it is a moving target, it can move quickly to new challenges and trends are created now and then.

Inspired by

NutriFusion Fruit and Vegetable Powders Nutritional Claims FDA

Amazon Grocery Sales Grew by 50% in Q1 of 2018

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Amazon Grocery is firing on all cylinders according to their recent quarterly report and data collected from One Click Retail. The supermarket giants have been watching Amazon closely over the past few years, but it appears they should watch even closer. In just the first quarter of 2018, Amazon sold an estimated $650 million worth of online groceries. How will traditional grocery compete with Amazon’s rise in the market?

How is Amazon Grocery Growing?

Amazon’s online grocery sales increased by over 50% in the first quarter compared to Q1 in 2017. So how are they doing it? Beverages are currently the top selling items on Amazon. They make up nine of the top ten best-selling grocery products on the site. Coffee represents the most growth in the beverage category with 44% year-over-year sales growth. Cold packaged beverages also represented a large chunk of growth with 40% year-over-year sales. Cold drinks and coffee represented around $285 million of the $650 million in sales in Q1 for Amazon Grocery. Snacks were the next highest performer for Amazon as they had growth of 38% with over $70 million in sales.


How Will Whole Foods Play Into Amazon Grocery Efforts?

While Amazon Pantry and AmazonFresh growth have slowed, the acquisition of Whole Foods last year has everyone in the grocery industry on their heels. Amazon believes Whole Foods can help them get the full shopping basket with perishables like meat, milk, etc. that most consumers want to buy in a store. With Whole Foods and Amazon’s distribution centers, they are slowing rolling out same day shipping to customers around the U.S. A full rollout of this service will completely change the grocery game.

Walmart Will Not Go Down Without a Fight

The biggest challenger for slowing down Amazon Grocery growth is Walmart. They currently offer store pickup at all of their stores and plan to bring grocery delivery to over 100 markets in the U.S. by the end of 2018. Walmart is making it incredibly easy to shop online and then pick up in the store which meshes well with consumer shopping norms.

It will be quite intriguing to watch Walmart and Amazon duke it out over the future of grocery retail. How do you think traditional supermarket chains will compete with these e-retail giants?

Inspired by

Daymon Report: Private Label Brands Are Booming

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Daymon, global consumer retail, and private label brand agency, recently published its first Private Brand Intelligence Report. In the report, Daymon analyzes how retail brands and private label brands are competing based on proprietary survey data, category research, and expert insights.

Significant Findings in the Private Brand Daymon Report

Daymon’s analysis found some interesting insights for private label brands and some dangerous ones for national brands. The agency found that 81% of shoppers buy private label brands on every or almost every shopping trip. 85% of consumers in the study indicated that they trust store brands as much as their national counterparts. On top of these shopper stats, private label brand sales are up 4% over national brands in the past 12 months.

Daymon CEO, Jim Holbrook, believes that this is a “renaissance period” for store brands. He attributes this growth in private label to the way retailers are creating one-of-a-kind brands that national competitors are even having a time emulating. Grocery discounters like Aldi and Lidl are causing turmoil for traditional retailers because of their low cost, organic private label brands. The report concludes that the majority of shoppers (60%) want retailers to create more private brands in the fresh products category. Consumers can expect retailers to listen and start competing more aggressively in this category over the next 36 months.

Private Label is Disrupting Retail in a Big Way


The Private Label Manufacturer’s Association reports that store brands make up 17% of all grocery sales with a market size of $150 billion. Retailers like Aldi and Target have changed the way consumers think about private label. They now often recognize these store brands with quality and trust. National products are finding it tougher and tougher to compete with lower cost alternatives that are built on transparency and trust.

However, the private label market is facing some inside challenges. Brandless, San Francisco-based e-commerce startup, offers 115 “brandless” private label brands for the same price. For only $36, consumers can get free shipping all year on all orders.

As private label gets more competitive, it’s imperative for retailers to get savvy and compete even more. Simple ingredients and clean label products will be a win-win for store brands. Download our GrandFusion R&D Resource Kit to learn more about how our products can help you stand out from the crowd.

Merchandising Strategies Can Boost Better For You Snack Sales

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Researchers at Utah State University conducted a three-month study testing different merchandising strategies at convenience stores to determine if you could improve better-for-you snack sales. Their study found that placing fresh fruit and other healthy snack options near the checkout area plus promoting their beneficial attributes increased sales on many of these items. Another study developed by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) found that better-for-you snack sales increased by 34% when merchandised next to traditional snacks.

What Merchandising Strategies have the Most Success?

Point of purchase displays near checkouts hosting a variety of healthy options from clean label granola bars to whole fruits and vegetables saw the most success in the Utah State study. Food manufacturers have spent much time in R&D to reformulate snacks and create packaging that speaks to the health benefits, but they are losing momentum in retail. Placement and callout need to be improved to showcase why these snacks are so much better for you than traditional ones.

“Both the healthy checkout and better-for-you planogram tests showed that low-cost tactics can be implemented at convenience stores to grow sales of healthier foods. What works in some stores may not work across all stores, but the success of these tests clearly shows that convenience stores can be a destination of choice for better-for-you items.”

Carolyn Schnare, Director of Strategic Initiatives at NACS

Retailers have to buy into the health-focused movement to see the real benefits. It can be a win-win for retailers and food brands as the clean label movement continues to pick up steam.

The Better For You Planogram Study

The better for you planogram study tracked by NACS looked at four low-calorie snacks in a few convenience stores. They found that integrating these products in with fan favorites on the endcaps of aisles significantly boosted the sales. Veggie chips sales were up 119% during the study! Better for you sales and GrandFusion is a crucial ingredient helping snack foods making powerful health claims on their packaging. Our powdered blend of fruits and vegetables stabilizes and concentrates the natural vitamins and minerals so that you can quickly add super nutrition without impacting flavor or texture of your end product. Let NutriFusion help you take your healthy snack to the next level!

Tactile and Multisensory Foods Could Be Top Trend For Brands in 2018

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tactile and multisensory experiences are all about feeling and hearing the connection. Phil Lempert, The Supermarket Guru, believes we have evolved, and 2018 is a particular year for brands to take advantage of the tactile approach. A multisensory food will appeal to more than consumer’s taste buds. Brands will look to add features and experiences that appeal to the hearing and visual senses.

Tactile Brands Will Be More Memorable

The clean label trend is here to stay, but Phil believes consumers are at peak food information overload. It’s time that foods move to a more intellectual connection with visual and auditory cues. Foods that enable sounds like chopping, stirring, chewing and crunching will give consumers a food euphoria every time.

Brands Already Implementing the Tactile Approach

The crunch of a crisp snack echoes in our brain, and we subconsciously resonate with it in the future. Also, think about the crisp taste of a beer, but enhancing that with virtual reality as Guinness recently did.

Sensory marketing is nothing new, but Phil makes an excellent point that this trend will gain steam after the focus on ingredients, clean labels, and more over the past few years. Sampling is one of the critical ways to implement a multisensory marketing approach at retail and food events. Costco has been using this technique for years to drive sales in specific products and categories.

Tactile and multisensory approaches will be food and beverage brands secret weapon in 2018. Watch and listen for more!

Inspired by

Kroger Looks to Natural Brands for Innovation

Project Nosh reported on Kroger’s first natural innovation summit last month. The U.S.’s largest grocery retailer with 2,778 locations is looking to growing natural brands for innovation. The summit brought 50 of the best up and coming natural brands to their headquarters in Cinncinati, Ohio.

Kroger Natural Innovation Summit

The summit was held during the first week of October with a presentation from Jill McIntosh, VP of Merchanding for Natural Foods at Kroger, to kick off the first day.

“I thought of the idea because I wanted to bring a Natural Foods show to our Kroger category managers and invite some new and innovative brands to Cincinnati…Bringing the mountain to Mohammed, I guess.”
– Jill McIntosh

After Jill’s presentation, the summit featured 50 of the natural brands in a mini-trade show format. The natural brands were hand picked by VMG Partners, Harlow, and 84.51 degrees. For this first summit, Kroger wanted to focus on brands in water, fitness, yogurt, and packaged snacks.

“The brand selection committee prioritized high growth emerging wellness brands that have a proven sales velocity track record outside of Kroger, that were under-indexing in sales at Kroger. The event wasn’t focused on brands that don’t yet have a track record of sales velocity success elsewhere. The goal is help Kroger maximize their batting average as it relates to wellness emerging brands.”
– Wayne Wu, Managing Partner of VMG Partners

Key Takeaways From the Summit

The summit’s goal is the benefit both the brands and Kroger’s category managers. By bringing the brands to one place, this enables all of their buyers to be able to meet with the top brands and have more one on one discussions. The brands love the opportunity to connect with a specific retail customer in a more calm environment that trade shows like Expo West, Fancy Food Show, etc.

Kroger knows its business is moving towards more organic and natural foods, so the summit is an excellent fit in helping them push their “Restock Kroger” initiative. Kroger is leading the way in integrating their natural aisle with the conventional aisles so that both types of buyers become one.

“We have basically combined our natural with our conventional category management. Which makes sense as we want our category managers, when it comes to looking at a category, to know everything about it, not just the natural side or the conventional side but to be the subject matter expert over the total category. The customers are shopping that way more and more and we want to make it easy for our customer. So we’re mixing it up… As we integrate teams we’re able to integrate sales planning, ad, display and store formats.”
– Jill McIntosh

It will be interesting to see how the summit impacts the growth of innovative brands into Kroger’s massive retail chain.

Inspired by

CPG Brands Experiencing Growth in New Retail Platforms

The primary theme of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is growing sales. In the IRI Channel Performance Report, growth is present but limited. According to Vice President of Thought Leadership for IRI, Susan Viamiri, the reason for this is that shoppers are now more demanding and are spending their money on products that can deliver on their needs and expectations.

In the previous year, the industry amassed total sales of $760 billion where 41% was accounted for in the grocery channel. Another platform where consumer packaged goods are doing well is online. Most people still purchase the items that they need in grocery stores. The reason why grocery stores accounted for higher sales than any other platforms is that many people make quick trips to purchase their items. In 2016 alone, the number of grocery trips rose by 1.3%.

Strategies to Stay Ahead of Competition

As a result, many grocery stores have experimented with their store format to increase margins and survive the stiff competition with other retailers. Other strategies that they are using include subscription-based programs and promoting their CPG brands to millennials. The new formats embraced by CPG retailers will continue to transform the retail market for years to come.

As mentioned previously, e-commerce stores are also instrumental in driving the sales today. E-commerce is responsible for 8% of all CPG revenue. Market analysts are forecasting that the sale is faster because of the convenience it provides to consumers. This has many brick-and-mortar retailers scrambling to become more competitive.

The consumer packaged goods industry is eyeing different types of shoppers. The generational shoppers include the Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. These kinds of generational shoppers have different shopping attitudes. For instance, both millennials and generation Xs shop in mass markets and look into the price of goods more than anything else. Baby boomers, on the other hand, spend on convenience while seniors often pay more in bulk for drugstore purchases.

Social Media: How it Helps CPG Brands and Retailers

Too much competition is one of the biggest problems right now. Even big retailers find it hard to infiltrate densely-populated areas, so they create a downsized version of their retail stores. To be able to attract more people, they use loyalty programs and technology to let their customers know about their different offerings. They go to social media to interact with their customers and attract more potential clients.

The consumer packaged goods industry is fast-paced, and personalization is essential in breaking through the tough marketplace. By offering customization, customers feel important as they know that retailers can deliver their needs using the best solution possible.

Inspired by