Recessionary behaviors could be set to continue

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Marketing, Brand, Private label, Conagra foods

Behaviors that have been associated with recession, such as eating out less often and choosing private label foods over branded products, may extend beyond times of economic uncertainty, suggests new research.

A survey released this week commissioned by ConAgra Foods found that many frugal consumer behaviors are likely to remain post-recession, as most consumers (79 percent) still do not feel that the recession is over, and 71 percent said they planned to continue the savings habits they acquired during the economic downturn.

The survey, carried out at the end of March, questioned 1,018 adults nationwide about their grocery shopping and eating habits, and found that many consumers intend to continue cooking at home, using coupons and bargain-hunting.

Working in collaboration with ConAgra Foods, consumer behavior analyst Phil Lempert – also known as the ‘supermarket guru’ – said: “Consumers are saying loud and clear that the effects of the recession are lingering. Over the past 20 months shoppers are heading back to shopping lists and looking for real value. When they are in the store, they are shopping in more locations, especially in the center of the store. Many are turning to canned or prepared products, which can offer both cost savings and convenience for those who are cooking and eating at home more.”

Meanwhile, numerous market research organizations have highlighted the continuing popularity of private label, or store brand, products. According to a new study from Consumer Edge Research, consumers are often finding satisfaction with the quality of private label goods and do not see the need to switch back to pricier branded products.

Private label, or store brand, growth has widely been seen as a result of recession, but although some private label foods are simply cheaper imitations of familiar brands, there is now a greater range of store brand products on offer, with many more focused on delivering quality as well as value.

Earlier this month, market research organization The Nielsen Company said that store brands advanced to a 17.3 percent share of dollars and a 21.9 percent share of units by March 2010, up 2.1 and1.9 points respectively from 2007.

Related topics: Suppliers

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