For the past 2 years, growth in fresh has lagged behind center-store sales. However, the disruptions of today’s industry are changing the established norms of fresh strategy and merchandising. That’s why retailers who want to win in the perimeter must adapt to change in the form of private label development, innovation and customization.

A new report from Daymon, Stamford, Conn., reveals the key trends driving change in fresh and the action steps retailers must take to innovate and lead in 2020 and beyond:

Private label is a trademark of best-in-class fresh retailers

Leading retailers generate 43% of their overall sales from perishable foods vs. the industry average of 32%, and this study found a common thread in top performers’ approach to disruptions—using their private brands to own fresh.

Plant-based growth is necessitating new approaches to strategy and merchandising

Plant-based has moved beyond a fad to an industry movement. More than 50% of meat eaters purchase plant-based proteins, large manufacturers are acquiring plant-based startup, and foodservice is all-in on plant-based. Retailers must rethink their approach to fresh strategy and merchandising to champion this trend and make it easy for shoppers and their manufacturing partners to know where and how to buy and engage.

“Craft” sets the new standard for quality across the fresh department

Most retailers are lagging in “craft” quality and need to quickly adapt to the changing landscape by applying it to all areas of the fresh department, not just in produce. By taking a total store approach and multiplying “craft” touchpoints throughout fresh, retailers can address and offer private label solutions that drive differentiation in the perimeter and beyond.

Foodservice provides new opportunities in the digital age

More and more consumers are treating their grocery store’s prepared foods and foodservice departments as extensions of meal planning, and sales at top retailers are responding. The growth potential and subsequent private label halo presented by a strong foodservice program create new opportunities for retailers to drive traffic in the digital age.