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    PG's Grocerant Summit Aims to Inspire Retailers

    Speakers address packed house on growing foodservice opportunities

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    Solutions Center at PG's Grocerant Summit

    With a full slate of expert speakers, a host of exhibitors representing diverse suppliers, and attendees representing many of the industry’s top retailers, Progressive Grocer’s first Grocerant Summit opened Tuesday at the Hilton Chicago Northbrook Hotel.

    Harry Stagnito, president and CEO of Stagnito Business Information, publisher of PG, outlined the first-ever event with a laundry list of trends driving growth in grocery store foodservice, including health and wellness, local products, convenience, fresh, organic and natural – all opportunities for grocers to capitalize upon as points of differentiation in driving repeat visits and store sales.

    Emotional branding

    A further opportunity, Stagnito noted, is tying emotional branding to the customer experience. This point was explored by Christopher Brace, CEO of Shopper Intelligence, in his presentation exploring shoppers’ emotional connection to “Dinner in America.”

    Brace said grocers need to connect with parents through a deeper understanding of mealtime, which is quality time that creates an emotional family anchor. Retailers must communicate with shoppers by understanding the emotional triggers behind their shopping and consumption behavior.

    A shopper’s most valuable asset, Brace asserted, is their attention, and retailers must strive to win it by connecting with their “emotional truths.” As shoppers stand in line at the deli, he suggested, “what are retailers doing to emotionally connect with them there?”

    Changing foodservice landscape

    Penny Anderson, director at The NPD Group, explored “Grocery’s Place in the Changing Foodservice Landscape.”

    While Millennials and families with children have driven restaurant declines, fast casuals are leading in overall customer satisfaction, prompting other operators to up their game. Grocers have an opportunity with consumers who eat at home to save money but must compete with other emerging channels, including “food forward” c-stores geared toward convenience.

    Anderson noted lessons that grocers can learn from fast casuals: customization, craveability and experience. “Consumers have endless choices, so differentiation and relevance is paramount,” she said. Retailers can further capitalize on convenience, freshness and variety.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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