The Evolution of the Grocery Store: Consumer Shopping Habits

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By: Maurizio Patarnello

The grocery store has been a staple in consumer lifestyle since the inception of the first supermarket. In that time, a lot has changed, including product offerings and the way people shop, and while the grocery store still remains a core destination for shoppers, customer shopping habits have changed drastically. 

Today’s consumers look for transparency, authenticity and connection. Increasingly selective of the items they put in their shopping cart and hyper-aware of the ingredients their products contain, shoppers want to be assured the brands they’re using are just as committed as they are to being and doing better. According to a recent McKinsey survey, customers intend to keep spending more on products that improve their health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep, and mindfulness.

For retailers, this means putting a strong focus on natural and organic products and offering a diverse selection of brands that will continue to draw customers, whether in-store or online. For brands, this means putting heavy emphasis on their unique product offering and driving emotional connections with consumers that will help set them apart and ultimately translate to increased shelf space. 

The wellness market is saturated and fast-growing. Successful brands must be innovative, but also remain consistently reliable. Staying nimble and on the pulse of upcoming trends is important to meet changing consumer demands. In today’s tumultuous market, where supply chain issues are creating massive product delays and shortages, brands that are able to replenish products quickly have the advantage. Vertically integrated companies like Flow Beverage Corp can weather such vicissitudes in the market and avoid capacity issues. 

According to a recent Global Sustainability Study by Simon-Kucher & Partners, more than a third of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainability as demand grows for more environmentally friendly alternatives. Successful brands will have a comprehensive strategy to address their carbon footprint, develop products that are safe for people and the environment, and support initiatives that help achieve net-zero goals.

While retailers have seen major changes to consumer shopping habits, especially in the past few years, there is more change to come. Retailers and brands must be ready, not only to meet changing customer demands, but to evolve along with their shoppers and provide optimal consumer experiences – and for grocery stores – to remain a core nexus of consumer lifestyles. 

Maurizio Patarnello

Maurizio Patarnello is the CEO of Flow Alkaline Spring Water

Maurizio joined Flow after an impressive 27+ year career working for Nestlé. During his tenure he assumed various positions of increasing responsibility around the world, including throughout western and eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In 2017 he was appointed CEO and Chairman of Nestlé Waters, a role that he occupied through the end of 2019. 

He has dedicated the large majority of his career to the bottled water business, in which he significantly contributed to Nestlé Waters’ growth of iconic multibillion dollar brands such as Nestle Pure Life, Perrier, San Pellegrino, Acqua Panna and Poland Spring. He is also a pioneer in the global consumer health movement from carbonated soft drinks to bottled water.



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