Supermarket chain No Frills is ahead of the game.
Ten years ago, No Frills started to integrate international products into its general product offerings possibly giving them a head start in today’s grocery race while others followed their lead.
The most recent data gathered by Statistics Canada predict that by 2031, 63 per cent of the GTA will be ethnically visible, a leap from 43 per cent in 2006. These are staggering numbers which every retailer needs to take into consideration when moving its operations forward.
Jonis Remulla, a store manager at No Frills near Victoria Park Avenue and St. Clair Avenue East, says they’ve integrated some of their ethnic offerings with their regular products.
“Ten years ago, we had an ethnic aisle, but now the ethnic products have become part of the mainstream,” Remulla said. “Today if you want an ethnic pop it’s in the pop aisle, not the ethnic aisle.”
The ethnic consumer is on everyone’s radar and the demand for these products means a re-marketing approach which attracts nearby communities.
In its April 5–11 flyer, No Frills wishes consumers a Happy Vaisakhi, a festival celebrated in northern India, by marking down Indian-based foods. It’s an advertising strategy that enables them to engage with their targeted consumers.
“They are improving and they keep adding more ethnic products,” No Frills shopper Basanth David said. “Today I’m looking for atta flour to make roti.”
Atta flour originates from India and neighbouring countries. It’s commonly used to prepare the South Asian bread roti.
Retailers who have been pro-active and tweaked their strategies to match market demands, are in a better competitive position, especially when they are situated in immigrant neighbourhoods.
Remulla says there is increasing growth in the ethnic business, which is reflected in the population. He says you would be naive to run a grocery store without any ethnic products. You need to have a little bit for everyone.