Would organic grocery stores do better if coupled with conventional food stores?



Aug 30, 2022

In 2020, Schnucks opened EatWell, A Natural Food Store by Schnucks in Columbia, MO, with a focus on natural, organic, local and specialty products. Last week, the company opened a mini-Schnucks Express next door featuring many customer favorites available in traditional Schnucks stores throughout the Midwest.

The Schnucks Express occupies about 11,000 square feet of the 42,000-square-foot building. It has its own entrance but is also accessible through the EatWell store. The average Schnucks is around 60,000 square feet.

“After listening to our customers’ feedback, we’ve learned that they enjoy the natural and organic offerings available at EatWell but also are seeking the convenience of conventional grocery items,” said David Isinghood, Schnucks’ senior director of EatWell/health & wellness. “We invite our customers to stop in and see both the expanded selection of traditional customer favorites as well as the enhanced shopping experience of the natural and Good For You items at EatWell/Schnucks Express.”

Americans’ appetite for natural and organic foods has grown steadily over the past few decades, but price has long been seen as a barrier and many Americans maintain a strong affinity to their favorite conventional foods.

A Consumer Reports survey of 2,200 U.S. consumers, taken in April, found fruits and vegetables continuing to be the dominant category where consumers seek out organic options. Asked which categories they bought food labeled “organic,” fruits and vegetables were cited by 62 percent, followed far behind by eggs, 37 percent; meats and poultry, 35 percent; dairy (i.e., milk, cheese, yogurt), 32 percent; packaged foods (i.e., cereal, pasta, rice), 20 percent; bread and other baked goods, 16 percent and frozen meals, 11 percent.

Asked to compare organic to conventional foods, organic scored favorably for being better at limiting exposure to synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, their impact on the environment and the treatment of farm animals. However, 44 percent felt organic foods were about the same in nutritional quality versus 41 percent viewing organic as better. Asked about taste, 52 percent viewed organic as about the same as conventional foods, with 31 percent viewing organic as better tasting.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does Schnucks Express, featuring conventional food favorites, complement Schnucks’ EatWell concept? What’s the likelihood that the Schnucks Express/EatWell pairing will find more success than EatWell on its own?

Braintrust

“Yes, the two should complement one another. Consumers cross-shop, visiting three to five stores per week depending on various factors.”

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