Food markets: harmonization of concepts?

Germany's supermarkets seem to be aligning their strategic concepts further. Aldi, for example, has listed more brand products and invested in its image and store design. Lidl is also spending significant sums of money on modernizing its stores. These are being completely refurbished and given a new store fit-out. The ideal sales area at Lidl is now approximately 1,600 square meters.

The fact that discounters are expanding is not surprising. As they reach their limits of growth, they will penetrate the classical supermarket segment deeper. They have adopted a trading-up strategy and a completely new approach. The restyling of discounters, which netto and Penny are also undertaking, is of course putting classic full-range supermarkets under pressure, which will attempt to score points with consumers by adding e.g. vegetarian or vegan items. Furthermore, they are relying on the on-going ‘regional focus’ megatrend. Increasingly, more consumers appreciate regional fruit, vegetables and meat products. This is where classical supermarkets are trying to gain a competitive edge as customers spend more money on local products.

Whether meat, fish, dairy or fruit and vegetables: more supermarkets are increasingly relying exclusively on products from local suppliers for certain items such as eggs. Rewe and Edeka are setting themselves apart from discounters with these products and to retain customers. The convergence of concepts is evident, yet only at a superficial level. The concepts in fact differ in significant respects as each attempts to create a unique position. Only this is becoming increasingly difficult. The decrease in perceived differences has led to some unusual marketing campaigns, such as the recent collaboration between Aldi and designer Jette Joop shows.

Food markets want to distinguish themselves with new offerings: baking station at Aldi.

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