The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Are We Prepared?

Are We Prepared?

Shoppers and Trends

June 29, 2008

  What do the economy and the consumer have in common? Both are experiencing changes not seen in over two decades. With both gas and food prices escalating putting a strain on consumers’ budgets and negatively impacting the expense lines of business like never before, are there any positive indicators for grocers?
 
IRI has recently conducted an in-depth analysis of the current economic environment and its impact on the market and consumers. The key findings of this study provide sales opportunities for food retailers. According to the study, consumers shifted their spending priorities; most importantly to grocers they are eating out less and cooking at home more. Are we prepared to meet this increased demand for meal ingredients and components, as well as providing the necessary knowledge to use the ingredients? Some retailers have instituted training programs focused on providing key staff members with the knowledge to assist consumers that simply lack the where with all to cook from scratch. Additionally, retailers have also developed cooking classes as a means to engage their customers and provide knowledge in meal preparation.
 
Moreover, the IRI study indicates that more consumers are allocating a greater percent of their food dollars on private label products. This provides an opportunity for retailers to enhance their brand identity by effectively marketing their private label program and present clear points of differentiation from their competition.
 
Finally, according to the research some segments of the population are more hard pressed than others in “making ends meet” and are making trade-offs. Smart retailers have responded by reviewing package/portion sizes in their meat department and count size in produce as a way to provide more affordable options to consumers – these are just two examples of being prepared.
 
These are indeed difficult times, but if we continue to evaluate the market and the consumer, effectively plan and execute in a timely fashion – we should all be able to assist the consumer in making sound decisions and smart choices.