To attract affluent shoppers, retailers across channels should mirror values from natural segment

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty / Halfpoint
Source: Getty / Halfpoint

Related tags: Organic, Marketing

Retailers across channels hoping to attract affluent shoppers who have a disproportionate impact on their bottom line should promote values and products most closely associated with the natural segment, suggests new research from Packaged Facts.

The market intelligence firm reports in the research document Affluent Food Shoppers​ that the 42 million food shoppers with household incomes of $150,000 or more are “an essential consumer segment for food manufacturers, marketers, distributors and grocers,”​ in part because they spend more than $100 billion on food at home. This breaks down to about $6,960 on food at home – a whopping 74% more than non-affluent households, which spend an average of about $3,994, according to the report.

These consumers also “exercise an outsize influence on the food industry”​ because they gravitate towards high-margin, value-added products and services, adds Packaged Facts.

“Affluent food shoppers have a much higher propensity to use fresh department products that provide a disproportionate boost to grocery store profits,”​ the report notes. “For example, Packaged Facts National Online Survey date show that when affluent food shoppers are in the grocery store, they are much more likely to buy fresh/whole vegetables, fresh fish/seafood from the seafood counter, or cheese from a specialty/imported cheese department.”

It adds: “Affluent shoppers also demonstrate a high propensity to seek out high-margin value-added perimeter products and services,”​ such as a rotisserie chicken, cooked roasts and meat.

Expand organic, natural offerings

They also increasingly want more organic and natural products, according to Packaged Facts, which points out that 37% of affluent shoppers report eating more natural food versus 28% of non-affluent shoppers. Similarly, 30% report eating organic certified food compared to 18% of non-affluent shoppers. They also have a “somewhat higher likelihood of more carefully avoiding foods with artificial ingredients (29% vs 25%),”​ the report found.

Many of these are selling points emphasized by retailers in the natural channel, and which increasingly are highlighted by retailers across conventional, mass and even convenience in order to attract more affluent shoppers.

Highlight brands with social missions

Similarly, Packaged Facts notes, whether affluent shoppers frequent the natural food segment or not “they clearly reflect the food culture of the natural channel,”​ which includes “promoting values such as fair trade, local sourcing, sustainably grown products, humane treatment of animals, and clean labeling.

It also means carrying brands that align with the mindset of affluent food shoppers. For example, brands meeting the expectations of affluent food shoppers often have a philanthropic image and frequently characterize their ingredients and products with terms such as ‘honest,’ ‘authentic,’ ‘trusted,’ ‘finest,’ ‘freshest,’ ‘natural,’ ‘pure,’ ‘real,’ and ‘safe.’”

Build out the center store with natural, organic products

Strategies for attracting more affluent shoppers also include giving them more of the center store products that they want, the report recommends.

“In many ways, affluent shoppers are just as likely as food shoppers on average to use a wide variety”​ of products typically stocked in the center store, such as rice, pasta, canned soups and hot breakfast cereal, according to the report.

But, it adds, “the center store choices of affluent food shoppers stand apart in two ways.”

First, they are more likely to select small brands over national brands, and second they prefer organic shelf-stable foods, the report explains.

Step-up food service to combat competition from restaurants

Retailers also can win over more affluent shoppers by offering a more sophisticated and higher quality selection of pre-made foods that can compete with restaurant offerings and in-store cafes, recommends Packaged Facts.

“Highly affluent households spend more on food away from home ($69 billion, or 53% of their aggregate expenditures on food) than they spend on food at home ($62 billion, or 47% of aggregate expenditure on food),”​ but retailers could win over a larger share of spending by offering a better selection or ready-made options, the report notes.

One way some retailers are doing this is by teaming with small local or specialty restaurant brands to diversify their selection, according to the report. Others are expanding their full-service sit-down offerings, it adds.

For more strategies to attract affluent shoppers, find Packaged Facts’ full report here​.

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