Thursday, December 28, 2023

Gina Acosta ‘s 12 Grocery Sector Trends for 2024


Every year it important to take stock of what other leaders in the industry think is important or what they think will be important.  Gina Acosta is a proven leader within the grocery sector Steven Johnson Grocearnt Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® wants us to share some of her insights.  Here we go:

“'Tis the season to be jolly. As we wrap up 2023, it’s time to reflect on a year that was a transformative time for the grocery industry — and not just because generative AI and retail media unlocked the potential for food retailers to squeeze more profit out of their businesses.

After several years of extreme volatility, uncertainty and growth, the past 12 months have been a level set. The good news is that we have returned to a more normal time. The bad news is that normal is never normal, and grocery retailers will be under more pressure than ever before to make the right bets on where to invest as they embrace new ways to create value and sustained growth. Even amid the pressure, retailers that aggressively focus on the following 12 trends may be best positioned to thrive in 2024’s never normal, whatever the new year may bring:

1.       Loyalty: What have you done for me lately? That’s what your shoppers are thinking about outdated circulars, apps and promotions that don’t really solve their problems. As Giant Food’s loyalty guru, Ryan Draude, suggested during a recent Progressive Grocer webinar, perhaps it’s time to design loyalty programs like those of airlines and hotels. Give shoppers a reason to come to the store more often to rack up those points! 

2.       Retail media: The next year will bring more growth for this channel, but it will also bring a reckoning. Simplification, standardization, in-store executions and ROI will be top of mind as suppliers demand more from retailer media networks. 

3.       AI: The integration of artificial intelligence across the business will continue to accelerate, and the first grocery retailer to launch a “killer AI” app will likely be Walmart. 

4.       Inflation: Inflation may be subsiding, but we’re starting to see the effects of the end of SNAP dollars and the start of student loan repayments on retailer bottom lines. Consumers choosing value (and private brands) above all else isn’t going away anytime soon. 

5.       M&A: The proposed merger between The Kroger Co. and Albertsons Cos. is slated to close on Jan. 13, and all indications are that it’s going to happen. Consolidation will continue in the new year.

6.       Sustainability: Putting aside robust retailer environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and increasing consumer preferences for sustainable practices, the regulatory (and operating) environment for grocers is poised to become a lot more complex in the next year, due to new rules regarding food waste, refrigerants and more. 

7.       Profitability: Grocers will continue to face downward margin pressure in 2024 and will be forced to make some very tough choices when it comes to spending.

8.       Theft: Shoppers are unhappy about product being locked up in cases, and retailers are unhappy about product being stolen. The answer might be to invest in more employees in the aisles as a deterrent to theft.

9.       Social commerce: Tik Tok-viral recipes will keep triggering out-of-stocks, so now’s the time to invest in some better forecasting solutions to predict demand based on social media and other trends.

10.   Storytelling: Grocers that want to retain their shoppers and acquire new ones need to do a better job of telling their stories, whether in-store or online. The store is the heart and soul of the community. Shout it from the rooftops! 

11.   Self-checkout: The expansion of self-checkout has solved some problems for retailers but introduced many new ones, including increased shrink, labor issues, and customer frustration over the technology. AI may help solve some of these problems in the new year.

12.   Small brands: Now that supply chains are mostly back to “normal,” smaller brands have an opportunity to win space on the shelf again — as long as they’re value-priced, of course. “

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

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