Younger shoppers shifting from supermarkets to specialty food stores

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Denver, CO, United States (4E) – More millennials or those born in the 80s and 90s prefer shopping in specialty food stores than in supermarkets based on the result of an online survey by consumer analyst The Hartman Group (THG).

In a survey of 850 adult shoppers, THG learned that 46 percent of millennials left their primary store or supermarket to buy cheeses, prepared foods, specialty meats, baked foods and other deli items in specialty stores compared to only 35 percent of baby boomers who did the same.

The findings were revealed by THG CEO Laurie Demeritt on Sunday during her talk titled “Key Shifts in Food Culture: How Consumer Preferences and Behaviors are Evolving and How to Respond” at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s 50th Annual Seminar and Expo in Denver, Colorado.

The survey showed that 50 percent of consumers will go to another preferred specialty store for specialty cheese, 40 percent for prepared foods, 38 percent for specialty meats, 37 percent for deli items, 36 percent for baked goods and 26 percent for fresh dairy products.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of younger shoppers buy specialty meats in delis compared to only 45 percent of baby boomers. In terms of frequency of visits, millennials shopped at nine stores in the past three months while baby boomers visited only six. The younger shoppers are not brand loyal and tend to explore and check all the different options the market can offer.

Recognizing the market trend, food businesses are testing the deli model to attract more customers. Among them is Soupman Inc. (OTC: SOUP), maker and seller of The Original Soupman soups and operator of The Original Soupman restaurants.

Soupman is eyeing 25 new franchises of its deli model in the next five years. One of these opened on May 31 at the Quick Bites Food Court of the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. The deli offers Soupman’s signature soup varieties and all-day menu items.

The food court also hosts multi-concept franchises Subway, Tim Horton’s and Dunkin Brands giving food and beverage options that suit every casino guest’s taste, according to Mark Giannantonio, vice president of hotel operations for Resorts Casino Hotel.

“We expect that all future locations will feature an expanded menu that includes full authentic delicatessen offerings and a breakfast menu suited for the casino environment,” Lloyd Sugarman, chief executive officer of Soupman, said of the other upcoming soup deli outlets.

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