Grocery stores have experienced record-setting sales this year. An increase in the number of consumers working from home full time, combined with restaurant dining rooms being closed in many parts of the country, has meant more people are eating more meals at home. When they aren’t cooking from scratch, many are looking for convenient, time-saving meal options.
This surge in grocery sales has revealed some key trends about how consumers are shopping—and what they’re interested in buying. More consumers are trying plant-based options, for instance, and many are seeking globally inspired flavors or purchasing prepared foods with those flavors. What’s more, plenty of consumers have turned to—and will continue to turn to—ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat meal options.
For grocery and retail operators, these three trends signal big opportunities.
Plant-based popularity on the rise
While a majority of consumers don’t follow strict vegetarian or vegan diets, many do eat meatless meals from time to time. According to Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report, 34% of consumers eat a vegetarian or vegan meal at least once a week; 14% say they are eating more vegetarian or vegan meals now than they were two years ago.
For grocers, offering vegetarian options throughout the store is a must. Quick meals and comfort—a mushroom risotto bowl, chili mac, tortilla soup or veggie crust pizza, for example—can be big sellers among shoppers seeking a quick meal that’s also meat-free.
Globally inspired eats
Flavors and ingredients found in global cuisine are also trending. As consumers eat out less, they are looking for convenient ways to enjoy global favorites—from Mexican to Asian to Indian—as recipes are often too sophisticated to make at home. To feed the need, shoppers are heading to the prepared foods sections and frozen food aisle at the grocery store.
By offering convenient, heat-and-eat foods for shoppers craving something globally inspired, retailers position themselves as the go-to spot for when consumers want something quick and delicious that also meets their dietary needs. One brand that fits the bill? Amy’s, which has been producing organic global dishes made with organic whole ingredients for decades. And with some of the highest repeat purchase rates across the category, Amy’s offers consumers (vegetarian, vegan and otherwise) the taste and quality they love. Consider, for example, Amy’s Thai Vegetables & Rice Bowl, a General Tso’s Bowl or a gluten-free Vietnamese Banh Mi Wrap.
No matter what kind of flavors and foods shoppers are interested in, one thing is consistent: they want convenience.
With many people working from home, changes in schedule, and school disruptions, many consumers see meals as a time to take a break or regroup with loved ones and don’t want to spend limited time cooking (and restaurants in many states closed for dine-in service), plenty of consumers have added quick-and-easy microwave breakfasts, single-serving lunches and family-size dinners to their grocery shopping lists. Offering more variety, higher-quality options and vegetarian and vegan versions of favorites—such as breakfast burritos and scrambles, frozen pizzas, canned soups and more—gives grocery stores an edge. By providing consumers with options that suit their culinary and dietary preferences, grocery stores can outshine their competitors and create loyal shoppers.
Amy’s sees growth amid fluctuating markets
Amy’s exceeded category growth rates in the four-week period ending Oct. 4, 2020, gaining share in three categories (entrées, handhelds, soups) in the conventional channels. Amy’s also leads growth rates for soup in the natural channel. While total category sales growth rates (especially for ready-to-eat soups and handhelds) have seen a slowdown in recent weeks, Amy’s sales trends have held strong in conventional channels—and sales volumes have held steady in recent weeks. In short, Amy’s is one of grocery’s strongest players for expanding sales among consumers of all stripes.
Convenient, plant-based options from Amy’s Kitchen give consumers everything they’re looking for—from comfort food bowls and veggie crust pizzas to heat-and-eat soups and even snacks and sweets. Those seeking gluten-free, dairy-free and kosher options are sure to find an Amy’s Kitchen product that fits the bill. To learn more about Amy’s Kitchen options that meet the needs of today’s consumers—and match the trends of today’s shoppers—visit tradeinsights.amys.com.