5 Food Retail Trends Every Grocer Should Know in 2024

Consumer preferences are evolving faster than ever in the grocery industry. Are you struggling to keep up with the latest trends? 

We’ve all been there. You’re trying to keep your store relevant and your customers happy. Just when you invest in the latest superfood item or checkout technology, a new trend emerges and you’re behind the times all over again. Operating a grocery store in today’s environment is tricky. But when you know the food retail trends to watch, it can get a lot easier. 

This post will cover five food trends for the upcoming year. Then, we’ll discuss ways you can stay on top of trends now and in the future. 

How To Identify Food Retail Trends 

Before we discuss the top food retail trends every grocer should follow this year, let’s answer a few foundational questions. First, why do grocery store owners need to track food trends?

Staying on top of the latest food retail trends is crucial for meeting customer demand, keeping your competitive edge, maximizing revenue, and future-proofing your business. When you understand the trends in your industry, it’s easier to deliver your customers the products they want and stay ahead of the competition. But with new products and innovations emerging rapidly, how do you reliably identify trends worth investing in?

A robust point of sale (POS) system with strong analytics can help you identify emerging patterns and forecast upcoming trends. Which products show steadily increasing popularity week-over-week? Are certain categories outpacing industry-wide forecasts consistently? The analytics from your POS provide the tangible evidence you need to pinpoint trends likely to impact your business.

Integrating additional contextual data also helps. Local demographic shifts uncovered through census records could indicate an expanding customer base for international or specialty offerings. 

Related Read: 10 Key Performance Indicators for Grocery Stores

Essentially, identifying winning retail trends requires vigilantly gathering and reviewing quantitative sales data and layered contextual information. The insights uncovered allow you to align your product mix, store layout, and promotions with rising consumer demand. Keeping an eye on upcoming trends ensures your store remains integral to how and what your community shops for today and tomorrow. 

Let’s examine the five trends we see on the horizon for grocery stores this year. 

1. Inflation's Impact on Grocery Budgets 

Rising inflation has sent prices surging, impacting customer purchasing power across grocery categories. Staples like meat, dairy, and produce have seen particularly sharp increases, forcing many shoppers to reevaluate spending and grocery budgets.

As prices trend upwards, consumers are switching to cheaper items or smaller portions to stay within budget constraints. Retailers, in turn, face pressing challenges in maintaining profits while accommodating more price-sensitive shoppers. Strategies like price optimization, inventory efficiency, and targeted promotions and grocery store marketing efforts help stores balance margins and affordability.

Ultimately, inflation results in more customers separating “wants” from “needs” when they make a trip to the grocery store. As a result, your store must focus on delivering true value with your product mix, whether through lower-priced private labels, bulk buying discounts, or other budget-friendly solutions. 

2. Increasing Popularity of Private Labels 

Related to inflation challenges, private-label or store-brand products are attracting greater consumer interest this year. Many shoppers recognize the value store brands offer, seeing the comparable quality and lower price point as major advantages over name-brand products. 

Grocers leveraging private-label products gain notable control over store brand production, marketing, and pricing compared to third-party national brands. Stores can cater quality and selection to local preferences. Expanding private lines also boosts profits. Expanding your offerings to include premium store brands can help you set your store apart.

Related Read: 5 Supermarket Marketing Strategies To Implement and Win

As more shoppers turn to private labels for staples and specialty items, retailers should focus on product development and effective store brand messaging. Highlight your quality standards, community ties, and price transparency. Reinforce your private label’s purpose in delivering savings without sacrifice, so value-conscious consumers see your store as a quality, affordable one-stop-shop. 

3. Steady Gains in Grocery E-Commerce 

Online grocery shopping first gained popularity in 2020 and has only continued to grow in the years since. The ease of ordering online and using curbside pickup or grocery delivery appeals to busy, health-conscious, and younger demographics. 

If you want to maintain market share and keep your store afloat, you should consider investing in a user-friendly website and a point of sale system with e-commerce integration. You should also train your staff to ensure quality picking, packing, and driving to meet customer satisfaction. 

Related Read: Online Grocery Platform: 5 E-Commerce Solutions for Grocery Stores

If you choose to go omnichannel with your grocery store, you should ensure your digital presence matches your in-store experience. Emphasize website navigation, mobile responsiveness, order accuracy, and on-time pickup and delivery. Additionally, implement a point of sale system like IT Retail to streamline inventory management and transaction processing between your brick-and-mortar and online stores. 

4. Increasing Interest in Bulk Buying 

Bulk buying, whether through warehouse clubs like Costco or traditional stores’ bulk sections, appeals to modern customers for a simple reason: per-unit savings. Like private-label products, the bulk buying trend caters to budget-conscious shoppers. Purposefully purchasing higher quantities of non-perishables and household essentials makes sense for many families.

Additionally, some environmentally motivated consumers pursue bulk buying to limit product packaging entering landfills. As more consumers appreciate bulk buying’s economic and sustainability advantages, we expect this trend to expand across categories. 

You can cater to this demand by implementing in-store bulk sections, stocking value-pack non-perishables, and promoting your commitment to savings through bulk offerings. 

5. Trends in Healthy Living 

Last but not least, the healthy living trend is still here to stay this year! In recent years, consumers have turned toward organic, natural, and functional foods. Lately, this trend has expanded to include plant-based meat substitutes and dairy alternatives like oat milk or almond milk. 

You can leverage this trend by creating healthy living and organic sections in your store. You may also invest in a custom label printer to create labels that clearly communicate ingredients and processes to customers. Clear labeling helps customers managing sensitivities or avoiding additives find the products they need in your store. 

You must engage in authentic messaging to capitalize on the healthy living trend. Communicate specifics on sourcing, production, and standards across categories. Leaning into healthy products only carries weight when paired with real education, transparency, and values alignment around supporting customer well-being through higher food standards.

Related Read: The Guide to Grocery Store Profit Margins (and How To Improve Them)

Tracking Food Retail Trends and Managing Your Store 

The food retail trends covered in this post provide an overview of several critical shifts in the industry. Though every market possesses its own unique customer base, competitive pressures, and community values, these trends are some of the top ones emerging industry-wide this year. 

But how can you leverage these trends and maximize your sales, revenue, and profitability this year? By implementing the right point of sale system.

A robust point of sale system provides the detailed sales metrics, inventory insights, and reporting tools you need to spot and leverage rising demands and preferences in your area. IT Retail offers a POS solution purpose-built for grocers with robust analytics and tracking to help you optimize your product selection. We also offer the inventory management and payment processing features you need to run your store with ease. 

Schedule a demo with IT Retail to learn how our grocery-focused POS tools can help you pinpoint trends, boost efficiency, and stand out from your competitors.