There has been plenty of fragmentation in the media industry in recent years, as people tune into millions of personally-customized radio stations and turn away from mass-market network television. But there’s another trend breaking up an old set of monolithic mass markets — and these ones can be found in your local supermarket.
Historically, the most significant competition in the supermarket aisle was between big packaged food companies like General Mills GIS +0.27% and Kraft KRFT -1.27%. A more recent force has been the private label and generic brands. And an even more recent trend, analysts at BMO said in a note released today, is the rise of the “flankers”: Food brands that come from nowhere and nibble away at the edges of an established category, eventually chewing away at enough to have a significant impact.