Grocery Roundup: Ahold Delhaize USA Brands Rethink eCommerce Footprint

Food Lion

As one U.S. brand owned by multinational grocery giant Ahold Delhaize grows its eCommerce fulfillment offerings, another is paring back.

The grocer’s Salisbury, North Carolina-based brand, Food Lion, which has more than 1,100 stores across 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, announced Monday (Aug. 29) the expansion of its Food Lion To Go curbside pickup program for digital orders to 15 additional stores.

“We continue to offer Food Lion To Go at additional stores to help our customers spend more time on what matters most to them,” Evan Harding, director of digital and eCommerce at Food Lion, said in a statement. “We want to give neighbors the option to shop however they prefer, in-store or online, while still ensuring they have access to fresh groceries at affordable prices.”

More than 1 in 3 consumers order groceries online for curbside pickup every month, according to data from the July edition of PYMNTS’ ConnectedEconomy™ study, “The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Rise Of The Smart Home.” The report, which draws from a May survey of a census-balanced panel of more than 2,600 U.S. adults, notes findings that 37% of consumers had ordered groceries online and picked them up curbside in the previous month. Plus, 16% did so once a week or more.

Additional details: New Data Shows Convenience Drove Smart Home Upgrades for 83M Consumers in 2022

FreshDirect Shuts Down Philadelphia, DC Service

On the other hand, FreshDirect, Ahold Delhaize USA’s Bronx, New York-based online grocer, is shrinking its footprint. The company announced in an August blog post that it is shutting down service in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. areas.

“As a homegrown, trusted New York City brand, we are strengthening our commitment to servicing the city and the greater New York tri-state area,” the company stated. “To better serve our customers in the tri-state market surrounding New York City, we will be expanding in our home markets in the coming years. Because of this expansion, we will be exiting the markets that are serviced by our Washington, DC and Philadelphia facilities.”

The last day for consumers in those areas to make a delivery purchase will be Friday (Sept. 2), while some neighborhoods have already stopped accepting orders, and the last orders will be fulfilled Saturday (Sept. 3).

The news comes despite the popularity of the eGrocery channel. Research from the same edition of the ConnectedEconomy™ study finds that 40% of consumers had ordered groceries for home delivery in the previous month, and 16% did so once a week or more.

Impossible Foods Makes Play for Consumers’ Prepared Food Grocery Spending

With rising prices prompting many consumers to seek out more affordable meal alternatives to restaurant ordering, demand for prepared food at the grocery store is on the rise.

Noting this trend, plant-based meat substitute company Impossible Foods announced Thursday (Sept. 1) the launch of “Impossible Bowls,” frozen meals to be sold at 4,000 Walmart locations beginning in the next week. Meals available will include Sweet & Sour Impossible Pork, Chili Mac with Impossible Pork and Burrito Bowl with Impossible Beef.

Research from PYMNTS’ study “Digital Economy Payments: Consumers Buy Into Food Bargains,” which drew from a July survey of a census-balanced panel of nearly 2,700 U.S. consumers, found that 37% of consumers bought prepared food on their most recent grocery trip, up 7 points from the 30% of consumers who had done so back in November 2021.

Get your copy: Digital Economy Payments: Consumers Buy Into Food Bargains

In addition to food brands expanding their prepared meal offerings, many grocers have been investing in their cooked food offerings. For instance, Michigan-based grocery retailer Meijer, which operates 262 stores across six states, announced last month the launch of a new line of ready-made meals, with 12 “restaurant-style” heat-and-eat Crafted Market brand single-serve heat-and-eat options.

See also: Meijer Joins Grocers Gaining Share from Restaurants with Ready-Made Meals