The grocery industry is prospering, even though the greater Chicago market is crowded with competition, Strack & Van Til president Dave Wilkinson said.
Expanding chains like Aldi and Wal-Mart appeal to cost-conscious consumers who are carefully watching how much they spend, Wilkinson said. Mariano's Fresh Market only opened in Chicago in 2010, and already has 34 stores. Fresh Thyme, which is like Trader Joe's but with more fresh fare, is opening in Mount Prospect.
Specialty grocers that focus more on fresh and organic foods have thrived within the city and the northern and western suburbs, Wilkinson said. And Strack & Van Til is adapting to the changing tastes of more health-conscious consumers.
The Highland-based chain has been remodeling its Munster location to make room for more fresh offerings, including organic produce and sushi.
"People are buying more fresh products, and want healthier meal options to take home," he said.