New grocery habits to die hard

Posted by Isobel Drake on 9th June 2009

Three quarters of shoppers who have made changes to their food and grocery shopping due to the economic climate say that they will stick with their new habits even when the economy recovers, according to new research from the UK.

“As shoppers increasingly scrutinise every penny they spend they are shopping around more, wasting less, seeking out promotions, planning meals better and taking their time to find the best deals,” Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive of IGD, advised. “In such a vibrant marketplace, in which new shopper loyalties are emerging, UK retailers and food manufacturers are responding very rapidly to the challenges presented by the recession. They are each vying to excel at delivering value – and the most effective are reaping the rewards.”

Research by international food and grocery expert IGD highlights a number of winners emerging:

1. Brands with a strong heritage have a number of consumer trends in their favour.

• 44% of shoppers say that a major strength of brands is their reliable “taste and quality”
• 27% particularly favour brands because they have “grown up” with them

2. Investment in the quality and variety of supermarket own-label is paying off.

• 66% of shoppers say that they have seen an improvement in the quality of own-label over the past two years

3. Shoppers are visiting discount supermarkets like Aldi more often.

• From a small base (representing about 6% of the grocery market in the UK) discounters have an opportunity to grow, with 23% of shoppers saying that they would start shopping, or shop more, at a discount supermarket if there was one convenient to where they live or work

Food and beverage manufacturers respond

An IGD survey of 120 food and drink manufacturers found that they are responding decisively to changing shopper trends, with many now keen to boost ad spend to counter the private label threat. Some of the major changes include:

• 47% putting a stronger emphasis on price and value through advertising and communications activity
• 47% focusing on brand values in their communications
• 43% have increased promotional activity
• 42% have changed pack sizes in response to consumer trends

“Almost a third (31%) of people have yet to make major changes to their grocery shopping during the recession but expect to if conditions worsen. So there could be further transformation ahead with a great deal still to play for,” Ms Denney-Finch concluded.