Coop Italia has reviewed its market strategy as food consumption declined in 2019 after three years of growth, according to reports.
The cooperative has increased its focus on environmentally friendly products, food welfare, and convenience, the Coop 2019 Report has revealed.
It is also making changes in its internal structure, the retailer said.
Coop's private-label products, which continue to grow in share, will be at the centre of future actions.
Sales in 2018 amounted to €13.4 billion and the retailer estimates that it will achieve the same in 2019, in a framework that sees a limited number of new store openings.
Coop plans to invest over €500 million in improving its range of products and services in its existing network of sales outlets.
The report also revealed that Italians are spending lesser time in the kitchen, resulting in a boom in food delivery.
The expenditure on instant food in supermarkets increased by 9.3% year-on-year.
Customers have developed a liking for sushi, with 42% of Italians claiming to be assiduous buyers.
In the beverages segment, prosecco and sparkling wines continue their uninterrupted growth, along with beer.
One of the notable trends is the increased popularity of flavoured waters, which grew 164.7% in value in the first half of 2019.
The demand for carbonated drinks declined, and customers were seen purchasing products rich in fibre and protein over fat and carbohydrates.
The report also revealed that after years of reduced consumption, 2019 saw the sales of meat increase by 3.5%.
Customers showed a preference for Italian origin products over taste and price.
Environmental concerns were seen gaining importance in the food sector, the report said, with 68% of consumers willing to pay extra for disposable plastic products to discourage purchase.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.