||Food Buyers Highly Selective at the Shelf
Although U.S. food shoppers generally have a positive view of store brands, they are highly selective at the shelf when making a choice between a national brand and a store brand item, suggests a new survey-based report from Packaged Facts, the Rockville, Md., division of MarketResearch.com.
The report, "Food Shopper Insights: Grocery Shopping Patterns in the U.S.," notes that food shoppers are "highly likely" to turn to brand names when they are buying impulse and other items less likely to be planned such as gum, chocolate candy, frozen pizza and popcorn.
They also are likely to turn more frequently to national brands for certain planned purchases such as margarine and cold cereal. But they are least likely to choose name brands when purchasing milk, yogurt, bread, frozen vegetables, cottage cheese, sugar and other sweeteners.
Despite some hesitation to purchase private label products in certain categories, three in five (62 percent) of surveyed food shoppers agreed that store brand food and beverages are usually on par with the national brands' quality, the report notes. Moreover, 53 percent of respondents agreed that store brand products often represent a better value than their name brand counterparts.
The survey, involving a March poll of 2,000 adults who had shopped for groceries within the past 24 hours, also indicated that shoppers organized a substantial proportion of grocery shopping trips around narrowly focused missions -- for example, purchasing items needed for the next few days. One in three respondents said they were shopping to buy what they needed for a specific meal or recipe, Packaged Facts said, while one in five were picking up food in a grocery store rather than using fast food. And one in 10 were grocery shopping because of "being hungry."
Given the prevalence of narrower missions rather than pantry-stocking goals, half of grocery shoppers spent less than $50 and bought fewer than 15 items on their most recent grocery shopping trips, the market research firm added.
But even though food shoppers often are operating within a short time horizon, grocery shopping remains an activity that involves preparation. A substantial majority of grocery shoppers do some kind of planning beforehand, Packaged Facts said, often by making a shopping list, gathering coupons, looking for product or sale information or looking for menu or recipe ideas.
This preliminary preparation provides an opening where conventional grocery marketing increasingly falls short, Packaged Facts added. For example, traditional promotional circulars and flyers reach only 21 percent of all grocery shoppers prior to their most recent grocery shopping trip.
The report also notes that younger grocery shoppers are especially likely to use new media to get ready for their most recent grocery shopping trip.
"With nearly four in 10 grocery shoppers frequently using social media and networking on mobile devices such as cell phones and smart phones, location-based shopping assistants on mobile devices may soon upend conventional approaches to in-store shopper marketing," said David Sprinkle, the publisher for Packaged Facts. "For example, the Meijer supercenter chain is testing a 'Find-It' application that allows shoppers to instantly locate any of the more than 100,000 items stocked, plus it displays current sales and other promotions going on in a specific store."
But such technology continues to be balanced out by "old school" methods, Packaged Facts noted. And word-of-mouth remains a critical component of the path to purchase. Women are especially likely to turn to others for product and recipe information that will affect their purchase decisions in the grocery store.
(Source: Progressive Grocer, 07/07/11)