Supermarket Perimeter - December 2020 - 11

Many instore salad bars and other self-help options
are closed for now, but that doesn't mean operators
can't rethink how to allow consumers to build meals
with pre-packaged or individually packed options,
Webster said.

Pent-up desire for adventure

will be a bit closer in as those segments need to appeal
to a broader array of consumers than fine dining does. "
It's hard to see beyond the immediate tough present.
But as Webster pointed out, the future could be very
dynamic and interesting.
" Though this time is incredibly painful for so many, the
opportunities for really unique innovation in food, flavor,
concepts, service, packaging, etc. are nearly limitless as
the guardrails that existed before the pandemic are all but
gone, " she said. " Now is the time for operators to really
push boundaries and take a hard look at whether what's
been done before is worth still doing going forward. "
Now is also the time, she added, for grocery stores to
really capitalize on their competitive position. With so
many consumers concerned about dining out (either onsite or even off-premise in some cases), grocery stores
can start innovating in the areas of fresh and prepared
foods, taking cues from restaurants and creating options
that allow consumers to experiment more at home but
easily and with minimal stress.
" I've seen really interesting family pack meal kits that
require some preparation but offer full meals for larger
groups in the perimeter, more interesting prepared
options that take cues from trends in foodservice, efforts
at allowing customization, etc., " she said. " Grocerants
were an interesting option before the pandemic but now
they could be a really viable and appealing alternative to
restaurants for many consumers. "

Look for regional and even
subregional US cuisines
to be hot in the New Year.

supermarketperimeter.com

When the pandemic is finally over, expect a surge in
demand for more adventurous fare, Webster said.
" As often happens, there's likely to be a swing away
from concern, from careful behavior and toward more
extreme and experimental options, like super-hot flavors,
extreme experiential foods, beverages and concepts and
other options that really speak to throwing caution to
the wind. "
Even then, however, a significant number of people
will still be hesitant to return to eating out the way
they did pre-pandemic. Expect innovation in things
like packaging, service styles, concepts, extending the
on-premise experience to off-premise and food types,
Webster said.
Another trend likely to gain steam in 2021 is in foods
that have functional benefits around immunity and
related issues like sleep, mood, depression, inflammation
and gut health.
Assuming we're in for a tough winter with the
pandemic, the main thing the food industry will need
to do this spring will be to create a compelling value
proposition to get people back out of the house,
Webster said.
" At that point, consumers will have been changing
their behavior for nearly a year and that will have longterm consequences for the industry. I don't think just
cheap food deals will do it. Consumers will have to be
lured out of the house and back into public spaces with
quality, meaningful service and hospitality, consistency,
and unique offerings that depart from the foods they've
been eating at home. "
That said, when people venture out, fewer than
normal will likely venture beyond US borders. That
will mean continued exploration of regional US foods,
Webster said. Southern and Southwestern foods will
definitely benefit, given that they will reopen outdoor
dining earlier than other areas.
But there also likely be exploration of more specific
sub-regions and cultures within the United States,
Webster said.
" I could also see American Indian food enjoy
increased interest as well as the impact of African cuisine
- foods that Africans brought here during slavery and
second/ third generation foods that came out of that
culture - on various US regional foods. We've seen that
off and on over the past few years but I think that will
become more significant going forward. "
DECEMBER 2020 - 11


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Supermarket Perimeter - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - December 2020

Supermarket Perimeter - December 2020 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - December 2020 - 1
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