The food industry needs to target innovation, increase affordability and better communicate value, as consumers are still rooted in recessionary shopping behaviors, according to a new report from SymphonyIRI.
Although the United States has officially exited recession, the economy remains unstable and consumers are still cautious about spending, the market researcher said. In response, companies should tailor their products – and how they communicate their benefits – to reflect consumers’ priorities.
“Marketers have significant opportunity to improve consumer perceptions around price and value,” the report said.
Among conservative shopping behaviors, 83 percent of consumers reported stocking up on items when they go on sale, 81 percent said they were more likely to look for sale prices throughout the entire store, and 72 percent said that price had become a more important consideration than convenience in brand purchases.
SymphonyIRI recommends that manufacturers constantly track economic changes, their impact on consumer attitudes and behaviors, and category and brand performance. In addition, the researcher suggested that manufacturers should monitor innovation and identify new product development opportunities that fit with consumer desires; and establish an on-pack system that flags up key nutrients and nutrients to be avoided, while educating the consumer about the importance of these nutrients.
The report also underlined the importance of aligning consumer education efforts with those of retailers.
Although consumers continue to seek value, the attribute is not necessarily linked to price alone. Increasingly, manufacturers of private label products, for example, have focused on overall value for money – a concept that encompasses both price and quality, in an effort to hold on to market share in the longer term.
Private label foods have traditionally done well in times of economic hardship, but sales tend to fall again once the economy recovers. However, following the latest economic downturn, store brand products have managed to retain market share.
SymphonyIRI’s latest report, Consumer Expectations: Is CPG Serving to Satisfy, can be found online here .