The 2005 edition of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) study, "Facts About Store Development," provides a glimpse at what supermarkets are doing to attract and keep consumers.

Michael Sansolo, FMI senior vice president, says there's no longer a "one format fits all" supermarket format. "Understanding the specific needs of your targeted consumers and delivering what they need are essential for success," he says.

In particular, food retailers are relying more on specialty services and departments to attract and retain customers, the report says. Among the notable trends: 72% of new stores offer space for cooking demos -- a trend driven by consumers with less cooking experience, as well as those looking to broaden their range of skills and who view cooking as a special event.

53.7% of firms have a coffee bar in at least one store, and 52.2% have installed dollar aisles to address consumers' dual desires for convenience and value.

In-store pharmacies (55.7%) continue to be a popular feature.

25.4% of companies offer gasoline sales. Meanwhile, 18.3% feature "quick stop" areas for shoppers to buy household staples and quick meals as a way to enhance the stores' one-stop shopping appeal.

Low-carb food sections appear to be declining. Fewer than half (49.4%) of all companies now offer them. -- Kindra Gordon, May BEEF. Read more at www.beef-mag.com