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Sales at HEB stores in Texas are good, but not for upscale categories that the chain had been having success with in the recent past, said HEB’s corporate dietitian Rosalinda Benner, speaking to food writers attending the annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists that.
Chain management attributes its sales increases rising cost of gasoline and the economic downturn, said Benner.
For several years, 70 percent of the food dollar has gone toward foods consumed while eating out, Benner said, but this is changing now that consumers are eating out less.
The challenge for grocers in adjusting to this change, Benner explained, is teaching consumers how to cook simple, fast, and nutritious meals. HEB has introduced meal packages so that consumers can buy in one location in the supermarket everything needed to prepare an entrée, two sides, bread, salad, dessert, and beverage.
Meanwhile, many products aren't selling now, Benner said, "and they're all the high-end products."
Sales of organics are also tumbling, she said. "If products aren't selling, they're not going to be there."
All in all, she said, "we're going to see a big change in what people buy. I hate to say it, but I think the life of the foodie, and how they cook, is going to come to an abrupt halt."