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The Grocery Landscape

In our most recent Owner Meeting, Owners asked what we were learning about the grocery landscape during the Covid crisis. 

The industry experts are definitely hard at work studying this and we're staying tapped in to their knowledge. There are three organizations that help start-ups like ours get launched and we're in touch with them all.
One of them, Food Co-op Initiative, has been organizing dozens of video calls and there is one coming up about what we're learning from the currently open co-ops around the country and where grocery is headed. We'll be sure to fill you in after that call. 

Columinate Reports

We sat in on a call this past week with Don Moffitt of Columinate who shared these thoughts:

  • - The rate of change right now is the new thing; not the need to change. Open co-ops are having to change very quickly. 

  • - There are challenges but also opportunities in those challenges for co-ops. Remember we are smaller, more nimble organizations and we are there to meet our community's needs.

  • - He predicts we'll see very few salad bars and self-serve bakery cases. There will be more grab-n-go and perhaps staffed food bars rather than self-serve to still allow custom quantity and choice.

  • - The bulk department faces challenges. Shoppers will be concerned about touching bulk handles and scoops and with buying from open bins. He expects to see "pre-packed" bulk which still allows for smaller quantities and simpler packaging. 

  • - He also thinks stores will need to be considering customer sanitation stations - we need to keep customers comfortable in the store.

More Reading

If you'd like to dig in more on the topic, here are a few other sources we've been reading:

Pandemic highlights the limits of store-based online fulfillment, experts say

“The grocers that do the best job of managing the surge in demand for online ordering are going to come out of the crisis looking better.”

And lastly, Board member Dana sat in on a webinar with the grocery marketing consulting firm, Acosta. They deal primarily with conventional grocery, not food co-ops, but they have a ton of research they do in the grocery industry and they have been watching the trends and patterns happening around COVID quite closely. Here are just a couple slides from them that we found enlightening. 


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