By Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Food, FMI and Steve Markenson, Director, Research and Insights, FMI
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Amid pandemics, supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, inflation and global conflict – just to name a few of the incredible burdens on operations reported in FMI’s recently released The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2022 analysis – one bright spot in the food retail industry remains the industry’s focus on fresh perimeter departments. At FMI’s FreshForward event last month, the industry explored the ways that health and well-being and sustainability, along with industry collaboration and strategic partnerships, can continue to propel the success of fresh foods at grocery.

As part of this year’s Speaks survey, FMI took a deep dive into what is happening in the fresh perimeter departments, and there was so much to report, that we created a separate deep dive into The State of Fresh Foods.  Here are a few of the key takeaways that were presented at FreshForward:

  • Retailers are placing a significant focus on fresh foods or perimeter departments to enhance store differentiation strategies.
  • Most food retailers are planning to increase the space they allocate to foodservice aspects such as fresh-prepared grab-and-go options along with hot bars, salad bars and in-store dining.
  • Some are planning to increase labor allocation in areas such as foodservice and specialty help by department such as hiring in-store butchers, produce butchers, cheese mongers, and trained or certified chefs.
  • Fresh or perimeter departments now account for an average of about half of food retailers’ total online sales.
  • Meat and produce continue to lead sales per labor hour.

And if the stats don’t speak loudly enough, pay attention to these Executive comments lifted straight from the Speaks’ questionnaire:

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Comments from our members point to the simple fact that fresh perimeter departments remain a key factor in their company’s strategy for success.

Download The State of Fresh Foods 2022