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Supermarkets Losing Customers Both Young and Old

The Future For Supermarkets Is Looking Half Empty

Is the future of the supermarket looking bleak? Some seem to think so. According to consumer marketing firm RetailNet Group, grocery stores will soon be faced with an uphill battle. Food retailers could see the impact as soon as 2015, as population growth slows and the influential baby boomer segment becomes an elderly generation.

Additionally, younger, more affluent customers, especially those born after 1985, may be the first ones to turn primarily to online grocery shopping in lieu of physical visits to the supermarket. Some grocers are responding to this concern by launching initiatives for kids in an attempt to create a rapport with future generations of shoppers.

Call me antiquated, but I kind of like the physical act of strolling down the produce aisle, even squeezing avocados to make sure they're ripe. It's hard to imagine a future free of grocery stores. Could you see yourself shopping for food exclusively online?

againItsMe againItsMe 6 years
I can see myself buying non-perishables online and having them shipped to my home. I'm talking about things like laundry detergent, dish washing liquid, paper towels, etc. Maybe even pantry items and condiments. Any yuck can pick these off the shelf and send them to me. In fact I already do this with some items from's Subscribe and Save program. It is really convenient. I just subscribe to some items and they come to my front door at the intervals I establish. It's great and I do not have to repurchase for several months. In light of this I think grocery stores will shrink in size and carry mostly produce, meats and breads (perishable items that have a short shelf life). This will be good and perhaps we can get back to the local mom and pop owned grocery stores that can anchor a community and close down these huge mega stores with mile long aisles and huge parking lots. I'm definitely in favor of more smaller stores in the heart of communities and neighborhoods.
MariaLuz MariaLuz 6 years
Listen. I am an avid online shopper. I buy everything online; clothes, shoes, bedding, music, movies, kitchenware, household necessities, but there is one thing that so far I have never purchased online and have no plans to. Ever. That is, my food. I understand that many people are pleased with their online grocery shopping experience, and I got no problem with that. However, as someone who was born in '78 and raised by hippie parents on organic and whole foods, I have a need to see the food and connect with it before I transform it into sustenance. I know how that sounds, but it's true. The day that I am left with no option other than to shop online for my food is the day I truly feel that I've been defeated by the technological era and it somehow owns me rather than the other way around. Living in NY requires a person to find their food in a variety of places. I used to dislike that, having to go to so many different places to compile all of the things that I like. I go to the local associated for meat and some produce; I go to Trader Joe's for bread and frozen goods and snacks and sweets; I go to a cart or farmer's market for fruits and preserves. Throughout the week I pick stuff up here and there, and over the years, I've come to love eating and shopping this way. I would not want to see my relationship with food change into a thing less personal and experiential than it is.
arcticpuppet arcticpuppet 6 years
i'm a little iffy on online grocery shopping. i enjoy picking out my produce, making sure what i need at the time is ripe, the right size, etc. i wouldn't want anyone else doing this for me! although, i would commit to a csa if there was one near me.
planetkate planetkate 6 years
Yikes! I certainly hope grocery stores don't become obsolete. I was born in '85 and I adore going to the store...I consider it guilt free retail therapy since you can pile your cart full of stuff, but it is all stuff you actually seeing items is where I get half my inspiration for new meals. I think most 'higher end' grocery stores can appeal to groups looking for more organic options and a lot of stores where I'm from (NC) are part of a 'support NC agriculture' program so it is still 'semi-local'.
GummiBears GummiBears 6 years
Ermmmm...I have no idea how to respond to the study since I was born in 81. But I like shopping for groceries but I tend to go to smaller venues like famer's market and independent fruit stands. I don't know about the rest of you but the grocery stores in my section of town is overpriced and selection is scant in terms of variety of produce. Plus once I had raw honey and free range eggs, it is kind of hard to go back to the grocery store. Besides most of the inventory in stores around me is mostly processed foods so I am not missing much.
Spartygirl03 Spartygirl03 6 years
I just don't see this happening. But, maybe if they expanded their fresh, local produce and meat sections, they'd get more traffic from people who shop at organic, natural food stores and farmers markets. A lot of people near me use an online service, but I find it to be more expensive and the breadth of products is much smaller. Plus, I don't even like the fruit stand guy to pick out my produce so I don't what a warehouse worker to!
poizenisxkandee poizenisxkandee 6 years
I was thinking this would continue to say that people born after 85 were shopping more locally at farmers markets or smaller grocers rather than big ones. i was born in 1990 and take most of my grocery shopping at farmers markets and smaller grocers when available. i would NEVER think to buy produce online. or most groceries either. there are exceptions such as cheeses or spices/herbs that cannot be found locally but generally i like to pick my produce; for something that looks appealing and seems fresh. even a bag of chips i like to pick myself. the concept of online grocery shopping completely stuns me.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 6 years
I don't think this is going to be a threat for a really long time. Groceries aren't high involvement purchases (is that the correct economical term?), which require no research, and that's the reason going to the store is almost always faster. The only thing that a lot of people would probably buy online is things that are always used up regularly, like milk and eggs.
Katie-Sweeney Katie-Sweeney 6 years
I wonder if the fact that more people are shopping farmers markets makes a difference. I happen to love grocery shopping, so I will continue to hit up the store!
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
Not a chance! I love the sights, sounds and smells that go along with putzing around at the grocery store. And in the warmer months I get to know the people that grow my food by popping into local farmers markets.
Livvy-P Livvy-P 6 years
I live in NJ, and we don't really have any convenient farmers markets in my area, and no CSAs. It's a shame, I wish I could go to the farmer's market. I would buy all of my produce that way, if I could. We have one that calls itself a farmers market, but the food is shipped in from California, Chile, and Argentina!! Where are my Jersey tomatoes??
KeLynns KeLynns 6 years
I believe it. I get a produce delivery and I love it. I think a lot of people now like to do CSAs and stuff, too. I still go to the grocery store a few times a week to fill in the gaps, get everything for a last-minute recipe, etc. I can't imagine not having that option.
ladiebuggle ladiebuggle 6 years
It isn't all about online shopping. Personally, I now prefer to buy produce from the farmers market or grow it myself. Farmers markets also offer local bread, eggs, milk, honey, grass-fed meats, etc. Future generations may also find this preferable over grocery store food.
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