The Center of the Store – A Sea of Opportunity
“Shop the perimeter store.” This little piece of advice to consumers to help them shop for healthier food has been used for years but is really misguided. While well intentioned, this short statement ignores many healthy center-of-the-store foods like whole grains, beans, vegetables and shelf-stable seafood.
While declining in foot traffic overall, certain areas of the center store are growing slightly. We know consumers are taking small steps to eat healthier, are eating more fruits and vegetables, and are looking for healthy beverages. So while the perimeter of the store continues to grow, center of the store items that carry health halos like tea, value added fruits and vegetables along with convenience and proportioned items are experiencing some growth.
While consumers are trying to eat healthier, they still value the convenience packaged food offers. Seventy-eight percent of consumers in the recent IFIC survey indicated they look for packaged foods that offer convenience, ease of preparation or because they are things they can eat on-the-go while also paying attention to ingredient lists and nutrition profile.
Consumers are looking for healthy, convenient and simple solutions that fit into their busy lives, and convenient, packaged food can help. Shelf-stable seafood is not something that immediately comes to mind as meeting that demand, but there are a multitude of options available to fit any consumer need. Sodium reduced, flavor varieties and single serve, on-the-go portions, along with seafood’s natural positive nutrition profile, make this category a perfect fit for the health-conscious consumer.
The shelf-stable seafood category has started to see its own growth driven by both packaging and flavor innovation. Tuna and salmon in a pouch are the part of the category that is driving growth with flavored pouches leading the way. Nielsen shopper data indicates that shelf stable seafood pouch consumers are experimenting with flavors, are looking for lunch combos and meal starters.
Consumers are experimenting more with unique and ethnic flavors. Palates are becoming more sophisticated and adventurous and our multicultural environment and world travels have Americans yearning to try new flavors and experiences. Restaurants are increasingly adding new and unique twists on classic foods and drinks that are driving our adventurous appetites, and this is transitioning over to the seafood aisle. Shelf-stable seafood pouch products make it easy for consumers to experiment with new flavors and incorporate seafood into their diet.
Consumers are more health focused than ever and products that will help them maintain or improve their health or that offer a simple convenient solution are gaining traction. Understanding that consumers are looking for healthy items in the center of the store will help drive to other areas. The shelf stable seafood category offers unique, innovative and delicious opportunities to help consumers meet their health goals and help all Americans eat the recommended amount of seafood.
International Food and Information Council, 2017 Food and Health Survey http://www.foodinsight.org/2017-food-and-health-survey