A recent survey from the National Grocers Association found that two-thirds of U.S. independent grocers report are feeling “more hopeful” or “the same” regarding business outlook through the next five years. Grocers innovated their way through the COVID-19 pandemic by enacting online ordering, curbside pickup and contactless checkout methods. Independent grocery stores were 60^ optomistic about the possibility of working with local growers to source produce.

The survey reported the top concern among grocers is the ability to staff their stores, with 54% feeling “less hopeful” about attracting and retaining employees. The next largest concern was how international trade agreements can impact grocer’s ability to stock fresh produce. Regarding consumer behaviors, 61% of grocers surveyed said they expect demand for organic produce to rise. However, in the last 18 months, 58% of grocers said interest in non-GMO fresh produce remains unchanged. In fact, according to wholesalers surveyed, 77% said interest in non-GMOs was stagnant.

Read more on grocery store trends and outlook here.