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    EDITOR’S NOTE: Center Store … And Beyond

    The more that CPG companies and retailers engage with shoppers, the more they understand the need for a stronger relationship between the grocery aisle and the rest of the store.

    The more that CPG companies and retailers engage with shoppers, the more they understand the need for a stronger relationship between the grocery aisle and the rest of the store. A case in point is The Food Emporium, the gourmet/upscale banner of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., which for the past two years has been running highly successful promotions featuring international food products — both center store and perishable — under its “A Taste of the World” program.

    The recently launched “A Taste of Italy” continued in that tradition, spotlighting center store stalwarts such as pasta, sauces and ground coffee alongside cured meats and aged cheeses. Taking this holistic approach even further, one of The Food Emporium’s future promotions, “A Taste of Morocco,” will even include such nonfoods as kitchenware and linens, to enable consumers to create a total dining experience evocative of the North African nation.

    As it has with other items, including ready-to-drink beverages and ice cream, Starbucks is further leveraging its great popularity in the quick-service restaurant and foodservice arenas by expanding the reach its VIA instant coffee product to grocery aisles across the country, giving shoppers yet another way to enjoy a Starbucks moment anytime, anywhere.

    Beyond its understandable desire to boost sales throughout the store, however, further inroads continue to unfold between the center store and perimeter to provide consumers with a complete, nutritious diet. For instance, the Kraft Foods Foundation has joined forces with Feeding America to send a fleet of Mobile Pantry trucks to underserved communities across the country, providing residents of “food deserts” with fresh fruit, vegetables, proteins and dairy products, as well as popular Kraft brands.

    This partnership among the supermarket’s various departments can only benefit health- convenience- and value-seeking consumers — in other words, all consumers — who will grow to understand the store not as “fresh vs. grocery,” but rather as “fresh and grocery,” and the retailers that strive to meet their needs.

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