Grocery retail trends of 2018

Date: 8 January 2018

Driven by new technology and sustainability concerns, consumers are increasingly taking control over what they buy and when and how they shop. As a result, grocery retail is expected to experience 5 major trends that will change the way the market operates in 2018.

The first of these trends is based on the growing number of consumers who expect and want food products to be locally sourced to support their communities, reduce food waste, and encourage the fair treatment of producers. Known as going hyper-local, this development is forcing retailers to “think global and act local” by supporting small food producers, leading to an increase in product rotation based on seasonal availability.

Battle of the retailers
Next comes smart shopping, which has grown in popularity thanks to electronic personal assistants like Google Home, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa. The ease of placing an order online has driven online sales revenue, with food manufacturers now prioritising digitalisation. As a result, home delivery innovation is growing as retailers rush to come up with newer and more innovative ways to deliver grocery products that have been ordered online. Delivery of food products is especially challenging due to the risk of spoilage and the threat of frozen goods defrosting. However, there are already services that promise delivery within 2 hours and offer 15-minute express delivery on popular food items.

As e-commerce takes over grocery retail, our fourth trend shows physical grocery stores fighting back in order to entice shoppers. Expanding their product range with exotic or artisan foods and exciting new merchandise and adding social activities such as dinner clubs and wine bars are just some of the tactics physical retailers are resorting to in their battle with online retailers.

Green consumers
The fifth and final trend revolves around so-called green consumers. With consumer awareness on the rise, shoppers are increasingly focused on what goes into their food and how their purchases affect the environment. This rise in ethical consumerism is leading to distrust of “big food”, the industry giants behind many commercial food products. Clean labels and organic, all-natural products are the new gold standard for food production, encouraging transparency and traceability – not just in products, but throughout the supply chain. Another result of ethical consumerism is the shift towards plant-based diets by consumers, mainly driven by concern for the environment.


Source: Askew, K. (2017) What trends will shape grocery retail in 2018? FoodNavigator [online] 18 December.