Posted Online: Dec. 09, 2012, 6:00 am
Where will you buy groceries?
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By Roger Ruthhart
Fareway and Walmart have announced plans to open stores in Rock Island.
I'm not sure if Rock Island has a unique appetite or there is some other reason the food suppliers are now targeting the city. But it will be an interesting to watch.
The landscape will change a lot in the next year, but as things stand right now those close to the planned stores are:
-- HyVee with stores on 18th Avenue, 7th Street in Moline and in Milan.
-- Aldi at 18th Avenue and 38th Street.
-- Jewel-Osco just over the border in Moline.
-- Save-A-Lot on 26th Street just off 7th Avenue.
-- Kmart on Blackhawk Rd at 38th Street,
-- Dollar General offers some food and cleaning products at two locations.
That doesn't even include convenient stores and Walgreens which also sell food, hygiene and cleaning products.
When the proposed projects move forward:
-- Walmart will build at Watchtower Plaza on 11th Street.
-- Fareway will build on 18th Ave. at Audubon School.
Today shopping trends continue to evolve, impacted by the economy, healthy living concerns and more men in the kitchen.
Emerging trends in the grocery industry will play a big role in determining what stores are successful. Recent national surveys by the Food Marketing Institute, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Whole Foods Market Food Shopping Trend Tracker, Perception Research Services International reported in various publications offer some hints at shopping patterns of the future.
The PRSI study shows that supermarkets are still where most shoppers (91 percent) purchased groceries in the past month.
Seventy-three percent have purchased groceries from mass merchandisers. Purchases from dollar stores are up slightly in the past year and drug and convenience store food shopping is holding steady.
According to the study, shoppers go to supermarkets for selection, mass merchandisers and dollar stores for price, and drug and convenience stories for convenience.
Since the recession in 2008, several studies report shoppers are trying to reduce their grocery bills. More shoppers than ever before switched brands in the past year to try and curb costs.
FMI reports that the average household nationally spends $105 per week on groceries, compared to $93 in 2006 -- prior to the recession. But adjust for inflation and the current weekly expenditure is about $88 in 2006 dollars.
FMI says consumers have adopted a permanent shift toward value-seeking behavior. Shoppers are more focused on price comparisons, either before or during their shopping trips, deals, and coupons.
As new shopping formats continue to expand, shoppers will have an even greater range of options, FMI said. Retailers will seek ways to differentiate themselves through merchandise, selection, value, convenience, in-store services and customer relationships.
Several other trends will impact the grocery business. One report shows that Millennials (the 80 million people age 16 to 34) are just as likely to shop at Target or Walmart (32 percent) as the traditional grocery chain (34 percent). The margin among older generations favors traditional chains by a margin of 44 percent to 27 percent. Millennials also want a wider variety of deli foods.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that with more women in the workplace, more men are cooking meals, shopping, collecting coupons and influencing shopping decisions. More than 40 percent of men now make meals at home.
How is that likely to impact shopping trends?
Women are more likely to look for better deals while men are more likely to get in and get out fast.
Women are also more likely -- by 12 percent -- to buy generic or store brands than men, according to a survey by U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends. Men end up spending $10 more per week on average because they are less likely to bring lists to the store -- making them more prone to impulse buys.
America's interest in organic foods is also growing, according to the Whole Foods study. Forty-seven percent are willing to pay higher prices for locally produced foods. Nearly a third is willing to pay more for food with no artificial ingredients, preservatives or coloring.]
How these trends will impact the grocery buying in Rock Island will be interesting to watch.
But based on the national data, it seems there will be enough slices of the pie to keep the businesses going if they offer products and prices shoppers want, are run efficiently and take care of their customers.
Roger Ruthhart is managing editor of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.