DID YOU KNOW…
From employing over 30,000 state residents, to addressing food insecurity for those in need, to keeping stores open during the COVID pandemic, Connecticut supermarkets offer “aisles of good” to our states residents.
- The grocery industry employs over 33,000 Connecticut citizens
- The grocery industry pays over $600 MM in state taxes
- The grocery industry pays over $1.4BB in wages to Connecticut employees
- Connecticut grocers purchase over $100 MM in locally sourced products
Nutrition and Wellness
- Almost every CFA member has nutrition, health, and wellbeing initiatives as well as community outreach and engagement programs that demonstrate the important role the food industry plays in impacting hunger, nutrition, and health
- We are empowering customers to live well by weaving strategies such as meal preparation, physical activity, and mental and emotional self-care techniques into their daily lives
- Many food retailers are making health and wellbeing programs and activities available to benefit employees. The top programs include healthy recipes, health screenings, meal planning resources, and wellbeing classes
- Larger regional food retailers are accelerating a move into healthcare services. Connecticut food retailers currently operate over 100 in-store pharmacies
- Connecticut food retailers annually donate over 30 MM pounds of food to Connecticut Foodshare translating into 25 MM individual meals
- Connecticut food retailers provide over $10 MM in monetary donations to thousands of Connecticut non-profits throughout the state each year
- Our members are the title sponsor of the Connecticut Nutmeg State Games – the largest amateur multi-sport sporting event in Connecticut
- Donations of over $3.5 MM from The Hometown Foundation to multiple charities for intellectual disabilities, animal welfare, veterans, first responders, and major illness financial assistance
- Collection of over 800MM bottles and cans at point-of-purchase annually
- Elimination of over 1.2BB single-use plastic bags since 2020 while supporting incentives to reduce, reuse, and recycle
- Diversion of over 35k tons of in store food waste from the municipal waste stream to (2) anaerobic digestion facilities, who in turn utilize organic matter to produce methane fuel
- Widespread adoption of LED lighting – the most energy efficient and most expensive option – which helps reduce a grocery store’s energy consumption by as much as 15%
- Widespread adoption of ENERGY STAR-certified commercial glass door freezers that save businesses $900 kWh compared to less efficient models
Next Gen Leaders
- Grocery stores across the state provide job training for over 2,000 high school and college students per year
- The grocery industry feels a responsibility to not only offer an open door but to seek out that next generation of leaders, whoever they may be
- Many executives on CFA’s current board of directors started out as baggers and stockers
- Since 2017, CFA has hosted twelve semesters of Trinity and UConn interns
- To support our associates and consumers, Connecticut retailers were the first in the nation to implement uniform “safe store rules” to help mitigate potential virus spread in their stores.
- Unlike other states, Connecticut’s food retailers never experienced widespread COVID spikes within our stores’ work populace due to extraordinary wellbeing practices and routines that kept people as safe as possible.
- Connecticut food retailers implemented senior shopping hours to keep one of our most vulnerable populations safe.
- Supermarket employees are frontline heroes during all periods of crisis.
Investing in Our Workforce
All of our members companies are having difficulty attracting and retaining quality employees, and it is negatively impacting their businesses. To combat this problem, the top strategies employed for retaining and attracting full-time employees include better wages and salaries; improved benefits; flex time; training and skills development; bonuses; and education programs/benefits.
Growing Selections & Expanding Departments
Retailers are expanding numerous fresh or perimeter departments. Almost all are increasing the space they allocate to fresh-prepared, grab-and-go products as well as offering foods with beneficial nutrition attributes for health and wellbeing. The departments are expected to grow include locally sourced and organic produce, plant-based foods and animal protein alternatives, allergen-free and gluten-free selections. Even amid the economic volatility, the food industry is zeroing in on shoppers’ evolving tastes and behaviors.
Online share of total sales has continued to grow for food retailers with brick-and-mortar operations, from 2.5% of sales before the pandemic (2019), to 5.7% in 2020 and 6.5% in 2021. To accommodate this shift in shopping behavior, retailers have evolved their delivery models and services. A large number of Connecticut food retailers now offer store pick-up for online ordering, while many also offer home delivery of online orders. Despite the growth of ecommerce use and sales, many grocers admit that they are still trying to crack the code of online grocery shopping.
Changes at Checkout
Food retailers are employing a variety of technologies to improve the checkout experience. Some of the most popular areas receiving a makeover include enhancing scan-and-go technology, allowing for dynamic pricing, and mobile checkout systems to make checking out faster and more “frictionless.”
Technology on the Front Burner
Rapid adoption of technology was a key component in helping our members’ businesses overcome many of the challenges posed by the pandemic. Nationally, 73% percent of food retailers say they are continuing to invest in and experiment with technologies to improve the customer experience and enhance business efficiencies. For example, 58% of retailers have goals for energy-use reduction, and 15% utilize in-store technology such as robotics and artificial intelligence.
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