Nielsen TV: When it Comes to Food Retail, ‘Fish Where the Fish Are’

Nielsen TV: When it Comes to Food Retail, ‘Fish Where the Fish Are’

When it comes to food sales, retailers across the U.S. know that times have been pretty tight over the past few years. Dollar sales haven’t really increased since 2012 and unit sales have been relatively flat for five years or more. And with discretionary categories stuck in neutral, Todd Hale, SVP, Consumer & Shopper Insights, says retailers are aiming to “fish where the fish are.” And that means innovating in the categories that can still drive growth in the face of tough economic headwinds.

But where these categories are located is affecting stores as well. The story has played out differently for the center and perimeter areas. Increased consumer demand and retailer focus for fresh foods is having
a positive effect on perimeter store sales, but the center of the store is home to the biggest winner over time—snacks—which has posted the biggest gains over the past four years in absolute dollar sales.

No matter the location, however, the big takeaway for brands and retailers in today’s challenged environment where consumer spending is crimped: It’s not just about winning with price. It’s about winning with products that matter and deliver a consumer benefit.