Commercial Architecture August 2017 - 8
Changing food preferences and shopping habits
are reshaping grocery stores.
Kenneth W. Betz, Senior Editor
n the past, a typical grocery-shopping experience was boring, even dreadful, and something to avoid or rush through, observed Deborah L. English,
IIDA, CCID, founder and president, D L English Design, Pasadena, CA.
Today one may find a pop-up restaurant by your favorite local chef, a 250-
seat full-service bar, a live band or DJ during Sunday brunch, wine tastings,
or coffee baristas serving up nitro cold brew.
Consumer shopping preferences have experienced a major generational
and cultural shift, English continued. "We are undergoing the socialization
of just about everything, including the once-mundane trip to the supermarket. In consumer food environments, we see a shift in preference for grocery
store experiences toward hybrid spaces that blend the lines of retail, food
service, restaurants, and entertainment," she said.
Many brick-and-mortar retailers face significant competitive challenges
from online players, and retailers and architects are responding by creating
enticing spaces that elevate the retail experience and invite shoppers to spend
more time in the store, English added.
In addition, food selections offered by retailers have expanded greatly in
the past two decades, according to Tom Henken, vice president, director of
design, api(+), Tampa, FL.
"There is now a much wider selection of prepared, specialty, and international foods. In addition, the market is divided by large, low-price stores like
Costco at one end of the spectrum and small, specialty stores like Trader Joe's
at the other end. These changes have forced traditional grocers to lower prices
and increase product variety and quality to compete," he said.
"Meal kit, restaurant, and grocery delivery are inspiring traditional brickand-mortar stores to offer similar conveniences. This trend will continue to
grow as the consumer adopts a hybrid method of food shopping both online
and in-store, based on changing lifestyles and options," Henken continued.
Fresh, natural, and organic are the preferences for many shoppers, especially Millennials, commented Joe Keene, vice president, mechanical engineering, Cuhaci & Peterson Architects Engineers Planners, Orlando, FL.
The products in the store have evolved as consumers have trended toward
healthier eating and away from frozen foods, added Jason Longbrake, pro8
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