Traditional supermarkets are seeing tremendous growth as sales are hitting their highest mark in seven years. Still, they are and will continue to face stiff competition from other food outlets such as supercenters and dollar stores. That's according to "What's In Store 2008," a trends report from the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association.

Here's some of what the report outlines:

Supercenters: These more than tripled from the 708 stores in 1996, to 2,613 outlets in 2006.  According to the Nielsen Co., 62 percent of American households shop at them.

Dollar stores: By 2011, there will be 27,696 dollar stores with sales of $20.6 billion, says the report. Specific to food, this sector will have a retail market share of 2 percent.

Convenience stores: Convenience store numbers increased to 145,119 by the end of 2006. By 2011, food sales from convenience stores should reach $166.1 billion from approximately 148,131 outlets, according to IDDBA.

Club stores: Club stores' sales were $63.5 billion in 2006, representing a market share of 7.4 percent. By 2011, sales will reach $84.2 billion, representing a market share of 8.2 percent, according to Willard Bishop's "Future of Food Retailing."

Online shopping: Americans who buy food via the Internet has held steady at 6 percent during the past few years, according to the Food Marketing Institute. IDDBA reports that online grocery sales could increase as high-speed computer connections become more common and tech-savvy young consumers start shopping for themselves.

Meal-assembly centers: There are now more than 330 meal-assembly companies with more than 950 locations in North America, with supermarkets starting to enter the business by offering the service in their stores.
 

Source: Meatingplace.com