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Three Things to Know about the Modern Grocery Consumer

It is crucial for food and beverage manufacturers and grocery retailers to know the ever-changing pulse of their grocery consumer base in order to successfully maximize profitability and market share. Several recently conducted surveys provide a window into the rapidly evolving habits of consumers, which are changing as the online grocery platform grows. Retailers and consumer product companies must note the following trends and work to specifically cater to them:

1. There is a Growing Male Presence in the Grocery Store

Yahoo! and the research firm DB5 combined to conduct a survey on the shopping practices of families, and made a surprising discovery: men are now the primary grocery shoppers in the majority (51 percent) of families. With this knowledge, food product companies must attempt to appeal to male shoppers more than ever before. Unsurprisingly, 60 percent of men reported having a “get in, get out” mentality, and only 26 percent take the time to explore aisles for spur of the moment purchases. Men are also less likely to be persuaded by deals, promotions, or brand loyalty, and seem less focused on frugality. Only 39 percent of men actively look for cheaper items, and 29 percent make a conscious effort to minimize spending. The survey exposed a degree of selfishness with the male shopper, finding that only 39 percent thought that the family’s desires should take priority over their own.

With this knowledge in hand, packaged food companies and retailers must intensify efforts to attract men to their products. The prominent and obvious placement of products at the front of a grocery store is becoming as crucial to sales success as any other factor. Retailers will also need to make a bigger effort to position complementary products like pasta and spaghetti sauce together in order to maximize sales. If a man sees pickles, for instance, positioned next to the deli meat, he is more likely to buy them on impulse for sandwiches than if they were located in a different section of the store. In the future, more products like “Dr. Pepper 10” should be designed specifically with men in mind.

2. Online Research at Home and in Stores is on the Rise

According to KSC Kreate, one third of grocery shoppers now use mobile devices to research potential purchases while in stores. Smart phones allow easy and convenient access to potential deals, competitor pricing, and nutritional information. More than one third (36 percent) of consumers research future purchases online, and 52 percent reportedly visit grocer’s websites with a keen eye on the meals and recipes sections. As consumers become more digitally connected and more information becomes readily available, brand loyalty appears to be diminishing. Just 13 percent of survey responders reported regularly making purchases due to brand loyalty. With instant access to product reviews and pricing information, consumers seem to be making decisions on a case-by-case basis rather than adhering to one particular brand.

Brands must find a way to distinguish themselves to more knowledgeable and connected shoppers that use grocery shopping apps like ZipList, which pulls ingredients from online recipes and puts them on a shopping list that incorporates coupons and deals. Food producers that actively make an effort to promote their products through services like ZipList stand to benefit from adapting to evolving modern grocery consumer habits. Suggested recipes frequently seen on a product’s packaging should be integrated into cooking websites and mobile apps.

3. Online Grocery Shopping Could Finally Take Off

Online grocery delivery services like Peapod and ShopRite have existed for some time, but have not gained widespread exposure yet. AmazonFresh, a new online grocery delivery service, comes at a time when it seems as though online grocery shopping is finally beginning to gain momentum. In the UK, online grocery shopping has caught on as grocer giants Sainsbury and Tesco grapple over the delivery market. Almost 4 in 10 Americans wished that their local grocery store offered online ordering and delivery capabilities. Evidently, Amazon has noticed this trend and has decided to expand their business model to attempt to take advantage of it. Many reservations about the online grocery-shopping model still exist, however. An enormous 73 percent of consumers think that it is difficult to order fruits, vegetables, and meats online because it is crucial to hand-select high quality products in person.

In fact, even major restaurant brands like Starbucks and Panera are experimenting with home food delivery. According to FoodLogiQ, even consumer goods companies like Tyson Foods, Campbell Soup, and Hershey are all working with delivery couriers to test ingredient shipments of meal-kits with easy-to-make recipes for brand loyal food lovers looking for added convenience.

Food producers and providers must adjust to male shopping habits, increase their online and mobile presences, and consider the benefits of entering the online shopping realm in order to meet modern grocery consumer habits. Marketing with a renowned focus on efficiency and digital incorporation can be expected, particularly as online shopping shows the potential to reach the food industry.

Tags: Competitive Differentiation & Execution, Retail Planning and Execution, Traceability