Speaking to attendees at Snaxpo 2014 in Dallas, Texas, Anindita Mukherjee said that snack makers needed to closely study their consumers more than ever.
“The one person who is in charge today, the real competitor in the marketplace, is our consumer. They are more empowered today than they ever have been before, and it’s because of that, we’re shifting into their world of demand.”
They’re nothing like the 1970 consumer…
The consumer landscape had changed dramatically over the past few decades, she said. For example, in the 1970s, 86% of Americans lived with someone else and 40% of households were married with kids. This compared to now, where the number of Americans living alone had doubled and 68% of households were without kids.
“Because we’re seeing some splintering and fragmentation in terms of how people are living, that’s fundamentally changing their demand,” she explained.
Mukherjee said that consumers were viewing things through a “much broader lens” because of the increased choice they have.
Consumers were ‘snackifying’ their day, she said. “We’re seeing a trend where more and more people are eating lighter meals throughout their day as opposed to heavy meals, and they’re on the go.”
Urban living is skyrocketing, changing retail habits
Mukherjee said that by 2015, 70% of the US population was projected to live in urban cities. “We’re seeing that urban living is skyrocketing,” she said.
With that, she said, came a shift in consumer shopping behavior to a more direct method. “You will see grocery, big stock-up and budget trips begin to diminish and you’ll see more frequent in and out, quick trips on the rise. Loyalty to retailers will be on the decline because of this urban life – people are constantly on the go and they have choices, and technology is enabling that.”
The ‘build it and they will come’ concept is finished
Mukherjee said that appealing to consumers in such a landscape, required a move away from the ‘build it and they will come’ idea.
“Today’s choice is infinite for our consumers, so it’s about architecting demand in a way that creates a business for us, but that starts with the consumer demand,” she said.
Companies that have figured it out have “absolutely reinvented their industries”, she explained. She said Apple was one example; a company that had disrupted the music industry with I-Tunes, and Facebook another: the company that overturned the way people managed photos, making any company like Kodak obsolete.
Mukherjee said Frito-Lay had invested deeply in understanding consumer demands in snacking and designed its brands around this.
“If you unlock a real insight, it can unlock real demand,” she said.
For more expert insight from Anindita Mukherjee, read part I - Frito-Lay: 'These days of mass marketing are limited...'