New report suggests grocery stores in midst of transformation
Grocery stores are in the midst of a great transformational change as owners look to adapt to the needs of consumers.
That's according to a new report from Deloitte Canada entitled 'The future of food: a Canadian perspective.'
The study looks at food consumption patterns, preferences and how things have accelerated for owners under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When I think about the grocery store, there's no doubt over the past year or so that it's rising to become a much more important place for people in the community to get what they need, especially during this very tough time. So what we see is a lot of shifting around," said Deloitte Canada partner Marty Weintraub.
According to the study, 25 per cent of Canadians ordered online curbside pickup for the first time in the past year.
When it comes to Canadians who are shopping for food online, 68 per cent said it was because of home delivery, 59 per cent said it was because of convenience and 47 per cent said time savings.
"What we know is the customer is king, the customer will pull the retailer in the direction they want to be pulled," said Weintraub.
"That is a big shift from what we saw five or 10 years ago where we saw the retailers maybe pave that path a little more aggressively. But right now there's no doubt about it -- the customer is calling the shots."
The study also found consumers are making healthier choices and basing a lot of those choices on environmental sustainability.
One of the people seeing the increase in online shopping is Roger Beaulieu. His store, Roger's Valu-Mart in Dowling, added online shopping or PC Express only a few months ago.
"There are still more people concerned with Delta and other variants coming out so some are still not comfortable with going into public places yet and that's why online shopping is great," said Beaulieu.
Beaulieu said he's seen a noticeable uptick in the number of people taking advantage of the program and said it's moving at a pace the store can keep up with. For that, he's grateful.
"I think it's also great for camp, if you're doing one-stop shopping and you want to keep going it's fantastic," he said. "And if it's COVID concerns, it's also fantastic. You just drive up to the side and you don't even have to get out of your car."
Beaulieu said they were already moving in this direction but the pandemic helped speed things along.
According to the report, the impact can be seen at the grocery store through things like product assortments, changing formats and also reimagining interiors.
In the meantime, both Beaulieu and Weintraub said trends like online shopping at the grocery store is here to stay.
"The grocery store is always a great place to shop, meet your friends, have a breath of fresh air," Beaulieu said.
"I like to have that ambiance, so I think that will never go away -- I hope it never does because it's my job … But the online part, I think that's never going away, as well. There's a lot of people that like the convenience as well as the protection from COVID."