This article looks at the changing market for groceries and examines strategies retailers employ to increase profit margins.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Business management, marketing, target market

Key Questions to Explore:

How do key competitors differentiate themselves?

New Terminology:

Grocerants, foodies, gentrified grocery

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

This lesson explores the competitiveness of the grocery market.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  1. Using a T chart with one side being discount grocers and the other full service grocers, ask students to list which grocery stores fit under each heading. Encourage some debate on their suggestions.
  2. Using a Think-Pair-Share, ask students to think about one of the grocery stores on the list and who their target market might be. Have them share with a partner and then with the class. Students should try to come to an agreement on who the target market is for each store and why.
  3. In pairs, have students discuss what is meant by fresh foods? What is the appeal for consumers?
  4. There is a lot of buzz about local food; have students differentiate between local food and fresh food.  Ask them which would likely attract more consumers? Why?
  5. Looking at the list of new terms, have students discuss what each of them mean and what the implications are for the grocery industry.

 Consolidation of Learning:

  • In teams of four, have students create a grocery store that will appeal to a specific target market that they choose.  Students should include a diagram of the store, a description of the target market, product mix, and promotional materials. Students can present their concepts to the rest of the class using a gallery walk.
Success and Additional Learning

Success criteria:

  • Students understand how competitors in the same field differentiate themselves to attract different consumers.

Confirming Activity:

  • Ask students to visit their local grocery store in pairs and talk to the manager about how the store is laid out and the product mix to attract specific consumers.  Have them report back to the class.