My wife hates shopping of all kinds, especially clothes shopping and mall shopping. Yes, I know...I'm a very lucky man. But she also doesn't care for grocery shopping. Good news is I come from a long line of expert grocery shoppers. Some of my earliest childhood memories growing up in Riverside, CA are of shopping at Stater Bros. and White Front (like Target today) with my grandparents. I've always liked strolling the aisles, buying what I need, but also looking for new products and trends.
I've recently noticed two trends at the supermarket, and I'm wondering if you have, too.
1) The BBQ Meat Department
There is now basically a BBQ Meat Department in many supermarkets. Consider this photo I took at a Walmart Neighborhood Grocery here in San Jose:
Once upon a time, all you'd find was those yucky Lloyd's pork ribs and tubs of Lloyd's pulled pork, chicken and beef. Today, in addition to those, you now have name brands like Jack Daniel's and Tony Roma's and Jim Beam. This store has Jack Daniel's ribs, Jack Daniel's chicken breasts and Sadler's sliced brisket (they're the outfit that supplies brisket to Arby's for their controversial 13-hour smoked brisket sandwiches).
I'm not saying that any of these are delicious or a good substitute for what we make on our Weber smokers and grills. It's just an interesting trend that shows how popular barbecue has become that so many industrial food companies are cranking out products like this for mass distribution in supermarkets.
2) Frozen Food Displayed On Edge
I've noticed that Walmart is displaying many frozen food packages on edge, as seen here:
I wonder why they're doing this? Do they get a little more product on the shelf using this orientation? Boxes don't fall over when stacked like this? Shelves look neater and remaining product stays at the front of shelf as boxes are removed by customers? It just strikes me as a weird trend that doesn't make sense from a marketing perspective. Boxes have always been displayed with the big, sexy product image facing forward, and now you're trying to find a product based on a tiny image on the edge of the box. Imagine if the cereal aisle was arranged this way...
I don't get it. If you have any insights, I'd be interested to know.