Sam’s Club is known for its large, bulky items, from giant paper towel packs and huge containers of laundry detergent to huge snack bags that can fuel a party.
During the holiday season, however, the Walmart-owned warehouse club is reducing the size of some foods to better fit Americans’ plans for reduced Christmas celebrations during the coronavirus pandemic.
Expect to see smaller hams and downsized desserts.
Megan Crozier, Sam’s Club chief merchandising officer, said the retailer added smaller packages during the pandemic as Americans’ routines changed. It reduced the size of items, including cookie packages and cake mix. He said the tiny packs were selling well, so Sam̵
Customers will find Christmas hams in three sizes: 4lbs, 7lbs and 10lbs. They can buy green beans with garlic herb butter, sweet potato mash with cinnamon butter and mac and cheese, all packaged as a side dish for a family of four. And the packs of yeast rolls are a third of the typical size – a dozen instead of 36.
Sam’s Club is rocking its vacation plans in other ways as well. It is extending its holiday savings events from October to December to reduce the chances of large crowds and long lines, which could contribute to the spread of Covid-19. The retailer has already had its first holiday sale, which began on October 4th. For the first time, at the end of October, it will ship a large book of vacation offers to members’ homes so they can browse and put together their shopping list. And it’s hiring 2,000 supply chain employees to keep up with rising demand and avoid burnout.
These steps happen when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge Americans to make smart choices during the holiday season. They suggested recipe exchanges and Zoom meetings this year on high-risk activities like traveling to an indoor gathering of family and friends.
The warehouse club won’t be the only grocer selling small appetizers and side dishes as the holidays approach. Ken Harris, managing partner of Cadent Consulting Group, said he has heard from many consumer packaged goods companies planning to change their size. He said Americans aren’t just looking for items that fit their most intimate gatherings, but they also gravitate towards packages that better fit their budgets during the recession.
He said consumers will see shrunken celebratory staples in stores, from cans of filling and jars of gravy to cranberry and cheese sauce.
“You can browse your vacation shopping list and those will be offered in smaller sizes,” he said.
He said “the opposite of” oversizing “” is another retail trend that the pandemic has accelerated. Other factors, from consumers’ desire for portion control to the growth of dollar stores and online shopping, had already prompted companies to shrink their size. In some cases, he said, the new design can be beneficial for businesses and customers. He pointed to the thin can of Coca-Cola, which benefited the waistline and the edge of the company.
Kroger, the country’s largest supermarket operator, said it will stock its shelves and fridges differently for the holidays as well. About 43% of shoppers plan to celebrate Thanksgiving at home only with those in their immediate vicinity, according to research from data science and analytics company Kroger, 84.51st.
The grocer bought turkeys of all sizes to fit any guest list and provided a variety of proteins, such as ham, roast pork, vegetable protein, and seafood, which first-time holiday cooks can opt for company spokesperson Kristal Howard instead.
Beth Breeding, a spokesperson for the National Federation of Turkey, said even sales of the classic holiday appetizer might seem out of the ordinary. About 40 million turkeys are eaten around Thanksgiving every year. He said some people might buy a smaller bird or decide to cook turkey breast or turkey legs instead this year.
“This year we will see a mix on the holiday tables,” he said.
The trade group is preparing resources to help Americans adapt, Breeding said. He’s putting together a guide for people tackling their first turkey this Thanksgiving, since they can’t fly home or spend the day with the family, and offers instructions on how to cook these alternatives, such as a single turkey breast. .
And, he added, it will suggest what to do with something Americans may have more of this year: leftovers.