Market Overview

Nonconventional Grocery Trends for 2019 Announced


CLEVELAND, Jan. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Robots in the store and cashier-less checkout are emerging nonconventional trends for grocery in 2019, says John Karolefski, supermarket analyst and purveyor of

Karolefski also predicts more subscription shopping and surprising new products on supermarket shelves.

"In 2019, grocers and manufacturers will aim to appeal to a new generation of customers," he says, "by making shopping easier and more enjoyable."

Karolefski's unconventional grocery trends for 2019 are:

Robots and Driverless Delivery: Grocers such as Walmart, Food Lion, Schnuck Markets and others have been testing robots to roam the aisles looking for missing products and those that are misplaced or incorrectly priced. Expect similar testing by other grocers with some putting robots in all stores. Meanwhile, Kroger's recent test of driverless grocery delivery from a Fry's store in Scottsdale, Ariz. will touch off several similar pilots by other grocers in 2019.

Cashier-Less Checkout: Amazon Go convenience stores have no cashiers. People enter the store and scan a special app on their phone. After shopping, they just leave and Amazon bills their credit card. Amazon is looking to add this technology to its Whole Food Stores. Grocers such as Kroger and H-E-B are testing other similar technologies for no-cashier checkout. Expect more supermarkets to do so in 2019 to appease shoppers who don't like waiting on long checkout lines.

Alternative Protein Products: Nontraditional protein products will continue to attract new fans in the new year. Beyond Meat, the pea-based hamburger and sausage alternative, has already gained a foothold in stores. In 2019, look for other protein alternatives such as bars, chips and pastas made from crickets and other insects. Also, cricket powder will become an at-home cook's new ingredient.

Cannabis Products: Plant extract CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, reportedly provides anti-inflammatory relief and reduced itching for psoriasis and eczema when applied topically. Meanwhile, the potential of cannabis drinks has prompted interest by Cola-Cola and Constellation Brands, maker of Corona beer, Woodbridge wines and Svedka vodka. As a result of relaxed laws and changing cultural mores, some cannabis products will be stocked on supermarket shelves in 2019.

Subscription Shopping: Subscription shopping involves arranging to have products delivered to the home on a pre-arranged schedule. Meal kits are the most popular kind of subscription buying, but the practice extends to individual product categories such as pet food, vitamins, razors and snacks. For example, KIND Healthy Snacks sells its fruit and nut bars through the KIND Snack Club. Procter and Gamble sells razors via Gillette on Demand. Expect more subscription buying as shoppers look to simplify their recurring purchases.

About John Karolefski: John Karolefski has analyzed the grocery business for over 25 years. He writes about trends in grocery shopping at Karolefski has appeared on TV (CNN) and radio (ABC, CBS and BBC) to discuss grocery trends, and is quoted frequently in national publications.  He can be reached at    

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