Robynne Anderson's Emerging Thoughts on Ag

Local Trumps it All

“Local trumps organic; organic trumps natural; natural trumps ordinary.” It is a simple rule of thumb but speaks to the premiums grocery retailers can get for food products. During the Canadian Special Crops Association meeting, John Scott of the retail grocery sector talked about trends in consumer responses. This has been fuelled by the customers’ ability to get information about their food. “If it is not offered, they will go get it,” Scott says. Whether on-site with their phone or whether later on the computer, he notes consumers will fill gaps in information that food producers or retailers don’t provide.

He went on to observe some other key trends, including the rise in prepared food offerings in stores. This doesn’t mean food in a can; it means a hot roast chicken and a side of kale salad that is prepared and served that day. It is a new approach to convenience and it is changing the layout of the store. The central aisles of a grocery store with dry goods are under pressure and shrinking as more offerings are being made in produce, cheeses, and hot cooked/prepared food offerings that are the traditional “outer perimeter” of stores.