Washington, D.C., In efforts to compete with market leaders or to fill specific niches within the industry, flourishing supermarket companies are investing in customers, employees and technology, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI’s) annual state-of-the-industry report.
For the first time, the report contained predictions for future food retailing trends. It identified the disintegration of large chains into smaller companies, the continual rise of gasoline prices to $5 per gallon and federal requirements for warning labels on high-calorie foods.
Cost-driven competition remains a key aspect of the industry, as it is compelling retailers to invent solutions for growth, especially via efficiency-improving technology upgrades, customer research and innovative products.
Store identity and differentiation are improved by specialty categories such as organic items, seasonal offerings, prepared foods, ethnic foods and fuel service. Major industry concerns in the report mainly consisted of the rapidly rising costs of credit and debit transactions, health-care premiums and energy bills.