While bakeries are Brazil’s most visited food retailer – 94% of Brazilians visit bakeries, according to Mintel’s Supermarkets and Hypermarkets Brazil 2016 report – other small format stores are becoming popular.

Many of Brazil’s major players in the grocery retailing category have been expanding their smaller format stores. As of December 2016, some of the biggest chains include: Carrefour Bairro (41 stores in three states), Carrefour Express (61 stores in the São Paulo state), Minimercado Extra (208 stores in the São Paulo state), Minuto Pão de Açúcar (72 stores in the São Paulo and Pernambuco states).

São Paulo-based Supermercados Hirota also decided to explore a more convenience-focused format, taking inspiration from Japanese convenience stores (know as “konbini”), and launched Hirota Express in 2016. The chain already has three stores, with plans to open 20 more in 2017.

These compact stores are usually located in easy-to-find locations and offer all the basic items; many also include a bakery and butcher. As they are easier to get to than their bigger counterparts, they are the ideal place to make a quick purchase and  to visit on a daily basis.

Smaller format bakeries compete with grocery retailers

34% of Brazilians visit bakeries on a daily basis

It is essential that these small formats provide a good selection of freshly made products, especially French bread (highly consumed in the country) in order to compete with bakeries, which present the highest usage among Brazilians: 34% of Brazilians visit bakeries on a daily basis, according to Mintel research.

Bakeries are also pursuing smaller format retail stores, offering consumers added convenience. Pão To Go is a franchise chain of drive-thru bakeries that offer consumers the convenience and comfort of purchasing baked goods without the need to leave their car. In Brazil, cars are heavily used due to a lack of investment in public transportation, making this type of business highly attractive. Pão To Go, which has 16 stores nationwide, and more on the way, is planning to expand to the US and Europe. The goal is to reach 1,000 stores in 10 years’ time.

Convenience is an important part of consumer’s daily routines, and smaller-format stores benefit from busy lifestyles. As the major supermarket chains continue to expand their smaller formats in order to catch consumers who are in a rush, bakeries might lose their status as the most visited grocery retailer.

Andre Euphrasio is a Research Analyst at Mintel and part of the Emerging Markets team. Andre develops reports and analysis of the Brazilian market. Prior to joining Mintel, he worked for IBOPE, the company where he was doing media research.

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