“Consumers are more focused on health and wellness,” Jen Campuzano, Director, Fresh, at Nielsen told FoodNavigator-USA. “[They] recognize food as medicine as a value, to prevent illnesses and continue to manage health.”
But on the flipside, Campuzano continued, consumers today are time-strapped. So across the board, Nielsen started noticing convenient personalization in the perimeters of the grocery store—think ready-to-cook marinated meats, mix-and-match baked goods, and the shining star of personalized produce, packaged salads.
In other words, consumers are relying on the grocery store more for the preparation portion of their home dining experiences, and expecting stores to prep and package fresh products to as close as a personalized amount of detail as consumers would do at home.
“For us this is something new and emerging, so it isn’t something we’ve been tracking for a long time, it’s something we’re seeing snippets of here and there,” Campuzano said about Nielsen’s insights on the personalization of grocery store perimeter products.
Packaged salad, a mature category with continued growth
“Packaged salad, these are categories that are continuing to grow,” Campuzano said. “The idea of cutting up lettuce, washing it, and putting it in a bag was truly innovative back when packaged salads came to be.”
Bags and kits of vegetables are barely a novelty anymore, but despite being a mature category, Nielsen data showed that it is a segment that continues to grow. “That’s because the category continues to recreate itself to be relevant to consumers,” she said. The growth of value-added vegetables in 2011-2015 on a compounded annual growth rate was 15%, while the growth for value-added fruit was 12%, Nielsen data indicated.
This includes new mixes of leafy greens (bagged kale was relatively unheard of 10 years ago), assortments of dips to pair with, and sizes ranging from single-serve grab-and go salad cups, to family-size bags of spinach, to a tray of fruit that can feed a party.
Nielsen’s analysts foresee more to come in the produce section. “This is an emerging trend, but we see vegetable butchers,” Campuzano said.
Consumers can drop off vegetables at a “butcher” and have the store staff slice, dice, or julienne them as the shopper continues shopping. “This makes it so easy for consumers to not only eat healthy, but in mind this makes it less wasteful because I’ll have it done and ready for me instead of looking in the fridge at all these fruits and vegetables that I have to cut up but I’m too lazy to do it,” she added.