Fresh Thyme shoppers are looking for more diverse and sustainable brands, the grocer reports.
Fresh Thyme Market is out with an inaugural report highlighting shopping behaviors across its footprint. The Illinois-headquartered grocer identified 10 trends that are poised to impact Midwesterners' preferences and purchases into the coming year.
Those Heartland-focused trends include the following:
- Several sustainability solutions: Shoppers are expressing their green values, as interest in certified upcycled products, certified regenerative organic products and items friendly to the coral reef are on the rise.
- Prioritizing animal welfare: In addition to protecting the planet, shoppers in the nation's midsection are looking to protect the world's animal inhabitants. People are becoming more conscious about the sourcing of meat and dairy products, for example, and buying more animal welfare-approved items.
- Local and diverse brands: Keeping it close to home, customers are gravitating towards Midwest-founded brands and diverse suppliers.
- Beauty bloom: The prioritization of self-care is evident in stronger sales of natural and organic products for body and beauty, like plastic-free offerings.
- Protein in motion: To support their fitness routine, many Midwest shoppers are browsing and buying alternative protein products such as plant-based protein powders.
- TikTok and social media trends: Look for more social media trends to influence products that consumers buy, including items that can be used in popular recipes.
- Allergy-conscious choices: Customers are showing a preference for products that are free of the top allergens, including the ninth allergen that was added earlier this year: sesame seeds.
- Functional beverages: On the heels of last year’s surge in non-alcoholic beverages, shoppers are seeking drinks with added benefits. Fresh Thyme cited immunity-boosting and mood-elevating drinks as examples.
- Mushroom mania: Exotic and gourmet mushroom varieties are gaining in popularity based on their nutritional value and versatility in diets. Mushroom root is one ingredient on the upswing, found in coffee, capsules and other items.
- Crab-tivating the nation: Within the seafood category, crab purchases at Fresh Thyme stores are climbing for taste and cost reasons. Consumers are using crab in dishes ranging from classic crab cakes to crab rangoon.
"We are thrilled to present Fresh Thyme Market's inaugural 2024 Midwest Shopping Trends Report, which showcases our commitment to understanding the evolving needs of our customers and our communities,” remarked CEO Liz Zolcak. “This report serves as our compass, driving our focus to continuously offer better products and programs to deepen our commitment to a great customer experience in every store, every day.”
To uncover this year’s trends, Fresh Thyme partnered with SPINS to leverage recent market insights.
With 71 stores in 10 states throughout the Midwest, Downers Grove, Ill.-based Fresh Thyme Market is No. 87 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.