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What is the long term forecast for the UK food retail industry?

The UK food retail industry is constantly changing and evolving to meet both customer demand and changing shopping habits. This includes things like offering a different choice of foods such as the booming health foods sector, as well as growing awareness of food intolerances and moral dietary choices such as veganism. Technology and society’s expectations also have a part to play in shaping the UK food retail industry, including the rise of online shopping, which has impacted that way that many people shop. So what are the current trends in the UK food retail market and how can we expect these to pan out in the long term?

Greater choices and specialisms

Along with offering customers’ greater choices of dietary-specialised foods and health foods, this is having two impacts. The first is that within large supermarkets, there has been a growth of specialised “sections” for example a “free from” aisle has become a customer expectation within many stores. At the same time, there has been an increase in the popularity of dedicated health food stores. With the demand for large superstores decreasing it is likely that we will see more and more dedicated specialist stores popping up across the country over the next few years.

More demand for online shopping

Over time, it is predicted that there will be a further rise in the demand for online shopping, as more and more people become comfortable ordering groceries online instead of picking them up in-store. Delivery services are always improving, with faster delivery available, and competitors emerging online to challenge local supermarkets, such as Amazon Prime grocery services.

The rise of convenience stores

In the current market, many well-known supermarket brands are retaining a focus on big-store retailing; however there has also been growth in developing smaller petrol station stores for many brands. For supermarkets with clothing brands, there has been a decrease in in-store purchases of clothing, more so than in-store purchases of groceries, however it is predicted that this will change over time to demonstrate a fall in in-store purchases of food too. Smaller convenience stores are therefore on the rise, since customers can choose to buy online as well as pick up fresh items in store when needed.

Cheap, flexible shopping

Smaller convenience stores offer greater flexibility and a quicker purchase time for buying a handful of items, which is why the current industry is seeing a huge rise in convenience and discount stores. Discount stores offer reduced pricing to large supermarkets who have higher overheads in terms of their store size and cost to run, including staff costs.

As convenience stores emerge as a more popular place to shop, the UK food retail industry will see the growth of more of these stores in populated and busy areas such as high streets or locations where many people live and work. Commuters are just one example of how purchases can be encouraged through convenience, with stores located within stations or near public transport links becoming increasingly popular with commuters looking to buy snacks, lunch or drinks on-the-go.

The RG Group have worked with a wide range of retailers in different industries, but expect that we will move forward into completing many smaller food retail developments in the coming years as these trends emerge.

Get in touch with the RG Group with your project requirements today by calling the team on 01732 526 850.

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