Consumer healthy food cravings keep grocery stores on their toes - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Consumer healthy food cravings keep grocery stores on their toes

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(NBC News) -

Everybody eats has to eat. But what we eat and when we eat is shifting. And that's keeping grocers on their toes when it comes to offering the right products at the right price.

"The consumer is moving from one desire after the other. The food retailer has got to be prepared to move very quickly as those demand from that customer happen, or change, they gotta be able to react quickly to get the product and services to keep up with it. says Randy Evins, SAP Senior Principal

Organic, gluten free, non-gmo, less sodium and protein-packed are now more of an option. And consumers' craving for "healthy" has shaken up the snack foods aisle and helped some companies stand out.

Diamond foods, maker of protein-packed nut mixes like Emerald brand and Diamond of California, saw its snack segment revenues grow almost 10 percent last quarter.

Diamond's kettle brand chips also land on many "top health snack" lists.

Hain celestial, Boulder brands and Annies are other players offering organic, gluten-free foods that RBC Capital Market's analyst David Palmer counts as winners.

"The natural and organic space is on fire. It's never been a better time to be in business in natural and organic from a demand perspective" says Palmer

Over the last few years, consumers' shift from 3 standard meals per day, to smaller more frequent meals is fueling snack sales. And the key millennial demographic is also particularly interested in fast, fresh, healthy, farm-to-table options. Spurring more trips to local grocery stores, instead of national supermarkets.

Straight-from-the-farm food options are paramount for grocery store profits. Consumers are willing to pay a premium, but only to a point. According to a PWC report 67% of consumers say competitive prices are still a factor when it comes to where to shop. 47% of shoppers are seeking out farmer's market options within the store.

Kroger leads the grocery-pack when it comes checking off the requirements on shoppers' lists. SAP Food Consultant Randy Evins says the grocer is leading the charge when it comes stocking shelves with fresh, healthy, organic choices at competitive prices, leaving rivals playing catch-up.

Finding the perfect recipe to fulfill shoppers' demands isn't easy when the only thing constant in grocery, is changing tastes.

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