With consumer interest in shopping the perimeter aisles growing, brands and retailers alike are seeking to build greater loyalty in these parts of the store. Brands in the perimeter aisles can become leaders within the food industry with a strategy aimed at tapping into current consumer trends, putting power behind their marketing efforts, increasing interest and bringing shoppers to the refrigerated aisle. To do so, they must focus on three essential elements:


Protein and clean ingredient lists are two nutritional trends that have consumers' interest. A “2016 Food and Health Survey,” produced by The International Food Information Council Foundation, Washington, D.C., shared that 64% of consumers said they are trying to consume more protein, as opposed to just 54% in 2015. And, according to another study, “Better-for-you Eating Trends: Spotlight on Real - US - September 2016,” by Chicago-based Mintel, 63% of consumers actively look for products rich in protein, second only to those on weight-loss diets.

Eggs, along with dairy and meat items in the refrigerated case, are well-positioned to capitalize on these trends. Featuring a single ingredient or a short list of whole food ingredients, these items are seen as inherently natural and an easy step to cleaning and simplifying diets while providing protein.

Further changing the way consumers eat, snacking has overtaken meals altogether. Considering both of these trends, items like hard-cooked eggs and other refrigerated items in convenience packaging are an ideal protein-rich snack with simple ingredients.

Certifications and relevant claims

With a proliferation of marketing claims across the refrigerated aisles, consumers may experience some confusion about various claims that relate to animal welfare, sustainability and nutrition. Without oversight, these claims can lack clear definitions and standards, so while the claims are meant to create trust in the brand, without proper validation they can lead to distrust.

Many refrigerated foods processors work with third-party auditors to provide certification for claims such as Certified Humane, Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Organic. “Cage free,” “free range” and “pasture raised” should not be empty claims. Claim verification programs create clear definitions for claims and provide verification of compliance.This transparency and authenticity builds consumer trust in the claim and the brand itself.

The brand story

Consumers long for a connection to their food, and crave more information about how it is produced. Communication between brand, retailer and consumer is now more important than ever. With the aid of engagement campaigns that draw shoppers closer to the brand and into store aisles to learn more, retailers have the unique opportunity to carry out meaningful conversations that may not happen online. Tips, recipes and meal solutions all have the potential to add true value to shoppers’ busy lives.

Above all, imagery is the strongest way retailers can market the emotional aspect of the food industry to shoppers. Putting images of animals on the packaging or sharing images of the environment the animals are raised in, via video or in-store signage, promotes transparency, an ideal many consumers are not willing to compromise.

Today’s consumer has been studied by the food industry with undeniable curiosity, as shopper demographics and their values change. Traditional factors, such as price, taste and convenience are competing with new purchasing influences such as health and wellness, social impact and transparency. Food brands and retail stores must shift their thinking and approach to create trust, loyalty and interest with today's consumers in the refrigerated aisle.