We’re Diving Deep on the “Fresh” Category. Here’s What’s Ahead.

June 19, 2024
By Mike Wilkening, Communications Manager, ARC (CMA | SIMA)

Your typical shopper might know what the “Fresh” category is in a grocery store, but they know it when they see it.

Produce. Oh, the beautiful colors.  

Deli. Want to try a sample? Sure you do! 

Bakery. Mmmm, donuts. 

Hot bars. Fried chicken or a healthy salad? Or something even more exciting?

Steaks stacked in refrigerated cases. And while you’re there, maybe get some of those sausages, too.  

In the shining examples of stores that do Fresh well, your senses pull you around the store perimeter. Fruits and vegetables shine. Delicious smells waft throughout: baked bread, barbecue, pizza right out of the oven. Before you know it, you’re adding items to your basket unexpectedly, but delightfully.

You are excited to eat.

The Fresh category is big business for supermarkets. From May 2022 through 2023, produce, dairy, meat, deli, bakery, and seafood sales combined for $343 billion in revenue, according to NIQ and Circana data published by Supermarket News.

And we know Fresh is vital to many of our CMA members, who are seeking more insights on this vital part of their business.

Starting next week, we’re launching a summer-long series of Fresh content, including a number of longer-form, members-only stories with insights, data, and actionable tips for retailers and suppliers on how to win in a rewarding-but-challenging market.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Our first members-only report on Fresh and the importance of the total in-store experience drops next week, drawing on the expertise of perception design expert Kevin Kelley, whom you’ll recall from his highly rated presentation from the 2024 CMA Conference in Dallas.
  • Then, in July, we’ll have a long look for members on how grocers are approaching the prepared food space, including hot bars. Who’s innovating? How are health-conscious consumers being served? What’s the state of the industry post-pandemic?
  • Later, in August, members can be on the lookout for a look at successful store-within-a-store concepts, with learnings for others thinking about implementing similar store models.
  • Finally, in September, we’ll finish the series with a members-only capstone look at Fresh, with a macro look at industry trends, with a focus on opportunities and challenges within major Fresh categories.

Even more content is coming, too, including Fresh-focused webinars we’ll be announcing soon enough, and other written expert content that’s in the works on Fresh topics. Indeed, it’s the “Summer of Fresh” here.

This series, like everything we do at the Association of Retail and Consumer Professionals (ARC), has our members first in mind. Whether you’re here for our Category Management Association, or Shopper Insights Management Association, or Space Planning Community content, we’re here for you. And we’ve heard the call loud and clear: more content on the Fresh category.

Which brings us to our final point today.

If you like this series and have other ideas for category deep dives that you would like to see, drop us a line. Or, if there’s something Fresh-related that you’d like to see covered, tell us, too.

As we’ve researched this series, we’ve become more and more excited about what the “Fresh” category could be for our industry. Already, it is a major part of the store’s engine. But what if stores, and suppliers, continue to raise their game? The opportunity is tremendous, particularly as away-from-home food inflation continues to persist.

We think this is the perfect time for a “Fresh” focus.

And from what you’ve told us, you agree.

See you next week for the start of our series.