Canadian grocery industry trends are always changing, thanks to healthy competition between the large retailers, independent grocers and mom & pop stores. On the other hand consumer tastes, new technology and economic factors also play a role in shaping the changing grocery landscape.

Top 3 Canadian grocery industry trends

1. Price sensitivity

The cost of food and produce is a trend that has been steadily increasing over the past few years. In fact a recent survey from Angus Reid found that more than half of Canadian shoppers report that it has become increasingly difficult to feed their families within the past 12 months. This means that customers are looking for ways to save money when buying food and produce.

Unfortunately most of the issues with the increasing cost of food are due to factors out of your control. For example, the weak Canadian dollar and larger environmental issues that are driving up the cost of meat and crops. There are a few things you can do to make sure your grocery retail operation is catering to the trends of Canadian shoppers.

  • Price matching – make sure you offer price matching when a competitor offers a lower price for the same product.
  • Advertise sales – make sure your weekly sales are advertised through online channels so your customers are getting their info.

2. New appetites

Consumers tastes are changing. It is easy to see how quickly appetites change by looking at how quickly some super foods like quinoa or kale become wildly popular. This trend is driven by food prices, consumers concerned with nutrition and an acceptance of constantly evolving and consumers are hungry for new and healthy choices. With the price of meat increasing, consumers are looking for new protein rich vegetables and meals. As Conde Nast Traveler observes, ‘vegetables are the new meat’.

Consumers are also increasingly interested in trying different ethnic cuisines and ingredients. This is a place where independent grocers can really shine, since they are already better at serving ethnic markets than their large competitors. Consumers want to balance their budget while still finding healthy options and you can play a role in helping them find what they need.

  • Stock the fads – make sure you are stocking up on the trendy food of the season, whether it’s full fat dairy, or sprouted grains!
  • Embrace ethnic foods – consumers of all ethnicities are experimenting with ingredients that they previously weren’t exposed to.
  • Sell a healthy lifestyle — make sure your store clearly labels a section that includes healthy and organic products.

3. New technology & services

While grocery stores haven’t been as quick as other retailers to jump into new technologies, this is changing with the larger businesses offering new ways to shop and save. Independent and smaller grocery stores will have to embrace this trend to keep up with the competition. Some of the bigger players in the grocery retail space already have their own mobile apps that allow users to shop online, receive promotional messages, customize offers and shopping lists. Home delivery and online shopping with in-store pickup is also gaining traction in the U.S.

You can find creative ways to offer similar experiences that will keep your customers coming back for more while you invest in new technologies over time.

  • Offer online recipes – consumers are looking for inspiration when they shop and tend to think of what meal they want to make. Offering recipes on your website with ingredients you carry can help direct sales.
  • Partner with a third party – partner with a company that offers deals via mobile to find new budget-conscious consumers like the 43% of Millennials that use mobile apps to clip coupons!
  • Install in-store Wi-Fi – Many shoppers are using apps to or mobile sites to check their shopping list and look for coupons. Having available Wi-Fi will help your customers stay in store.

These are just a few of the Canadian Grocery industry trends that you should be aware of, stay tuned to our blog for more information on how to protect and grow your business.