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The pandemic has brought about a new way of working across all sectors, and we can already see the impact of that in food retail, with multiples such as Sainsbury’s introducing dedicated premium lunch sections within the chiller aisle to attract those ‘at home’ office workers who have time for more than just a sandwich or sausage roll.
It’s clear that flexible working is here to stay, and we are all having to adapt to this new way of living. It’s already changing the nation’s shopping habits – the past two years have seen a meteoric rise in 10-minute grocery and meal delivery services. There are a lot of new players in this space, and the winners will be the online and convenience retailers who offer customers lifestyle ranges that are nutritious and high in quality.
Flexible working means operating at peak performance throughout the day, something that can be hard to maintain if you’re working full-time at the kitchen table, or travelling from one meeting to another with limited opportunity for a proper break. This means the fuel your customers put in their bodies has greater effect than ever before.
With added nutrition becoming increasingly important, the food development industry has been working hard to satisfy the growing demand for healthy, plant-based, and free-from solutions, which customers are now expecting to be available wherever, however and whenever they shop – whether that’s a convenience store near their homes when they pop out for a mid-morning break, or a regular stop on their twice-weekly trip to the office.
For independent retailers, particularly those with a local footfall, reviewing their offering and adapting to this new flexible but healthier worker, could provide a gateway to a new sales opportunity.
However, according to Barron’s, retailers should not just consider lunch, since growth is also anticipated in relation to the demand for better breakfast solutions and healthier ‘meal on the go’ options, as well as plant-based snacks, and fresh fruit selections that defy the norm.
Flexible working effectively equates to flexible eating – but this time, it’s with a healthy twist, and independent retailers are perfectly placed to benefit.