As the holiday season nears, grocery stores must adapt to the changing marketplace. Now that the pandemic is in the end stages, people are eager to get back to what life was like before 2020. So, heading into the end of the year, it helps to know about holiday food trends and how they differ from the past two years. Here are five grocery store trends to pay attention to in 2022. 

Gatherings Will Be Larger

Holiday gatherings have been pretty lean over the past couple of years, but that won't be the case this season. According to a study from a Kroger-owned media company, up to 94 percent of families plan to host as many or more people as they did last year. So, while shopping lines weren't filled with throngs of people before, they may get a bit overcrowded this year. 

These gatherings are also likely to happen despite inflationary changes and supply chain issues. Overall, the demand for big holiday gatherings is back, and stores must keep up. 

Instagram That Board Or It Didn't Happen

Now that social media platforms have been around for over a decade, they're engrained into modern society. Many families want their holiday meals to be Instagram-worthy, meaning high-quality dishes that look good on camera. According to the grocery chain Aldi, charcuterie boards are a big hit because they allow individuals to get creative and show off their food tastes. 

So, grocery stores should stock up on visually appealing items like cured meats, cheeses, and fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies. 

December Is the Month for Alcohol Sales

Alcohol has always been recession-proof, and now that holiday gatherings are back in full swing, the booze will need to flow. December is typically the peak month for alcohol sales, and the numbers have increased since 2020. Across the board, alcohol has become a hotter commodity, growing by 20 percent in 2020 alone. 

However, grocery stores also need to adapt to customers' changing tastes. Non-alcoholic spirits are a much bigger draw this year than in years past, thanks partly to a more health-conscious population. Also, there are far better alcohol-free alternatives available, so customers can get the same flavors without the hangover. 

Don't Forget Those Premium Sales

One of the more notable holiday grocery store trends is that more consumers are opting for premium versions of their favorite products. For Millennials and Gen Z, it's worth spending a few extra bucks to get something that's higher quality. So, less cheap boxed wine and more high-quality vintages, for example. This trend is also pretty compelling, as up to 93 percent of shoppers plan to shop for premium brands this year. 

Grocery stores can capitalize on this trend by offering sale prices on these premium items. If customers can get a discount without sacrificing quality, they'll be more eager to spend. Also, lower prices mean bigger shopping carts full of premium items, leading to better sales overall. 

Inventory Management in the Holiday Season

For the last year or so, supply chain issues have hit consumers across the board. Everything from bicycles to chicken wings was in short supply, and customers remember what that was like. So, there may be a frenzy to snap up high-demand items immediately to avoid the pain of showing up and seeing them out of stock. 

Grocery stores need to adapt by anticipating demand and shoring up their supplies to meet it. Overall, stores that can avoid sold-out inventory will come out far ahead of those with empty shelves.

Looking for help in maximizing the profit potential of your grocery and retail business? We can help.

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