Independent Grocers Look to Gain Ground
By Ron Margulis, Managing Director,
The National Grocers Association held its annual convention
and trade show in Las Vegas last week and attracted 20 percent more attendees
than 2009. That in and of itself is an accomplishment in today’s trade show
environment, but it also provided insight into the current state of the independent
segment of the supermarket industry where operators are bringing a unique
value proposition to the market and winning the battle with some chain stores.
Speakers at the conference covered a myriad of issues
affecting community-based retailers and their wholesale suppliers, including
technology, health care costs, loss prevention technology, energy and more.
In addition, the 2010 National Grocers Association Consumer
Survey Report was released revealing several
challenges and opportunities for independents.
On the opportunities side, the survey suggests stores
continue to emphasize:
- Value and competitive prices
- Attention to food safety
- Healthful assortments
- Great fruits and vegetables
- Nutritional information
- Personal safety at the store
- A kindly approach to special requests
- Smart use of technologies to tailor frequent cardholder
promotions and speed checkouts
- Support of local growers and other nearby food suppliers.
In terms of challenges, the report indicates there will
continue to be fierce competition from alternative retailers and other supermarkets,
continued economic malaise and the aging of the population as the first of
the Baby Boomers turn 65 this year.
When it comes to acting on these insights, "regional chains
and independent food store operators are nimbler than their larger competitors,
often homegrown local favorites and deeply rooted in the communities they
serve. Much of what local consumers prefer is already embedded in their minds,"
the report stated.
Discussion Question: What do independent
supermarket operators and their wholesale partners need from their trade
- 2010 National Grocers Association Consumer Survey Report – National
Grocers Association/Supermarket Guru/ConAgra Foods