Retailers, manufacturers and their brands are struggling harder than ever to woo and attract buyers on the shelf. Covid-19 is behind many of the challenges and opportunities facing the industry across the board. The ambient aisles are no different, because storage-stable products are anything but “stable” in these turbulent times.
A recent survey of more than 1,500 Australian shoppers conducted by WOM Network found that Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way major food buyers shop.
The new topics that the research has found include an increase in time awareness, a decrease in price sensitivity, and an increasing focus on groceries and home-style cooking.
"Not only do we buy more food for meals – we prepare more meals at home because we don't eat out as often / at all – we also do more meal-independent cooking activities like baking," says WOM Network Director Warwick Hills.
“We have also seen that the main grocery buyers have more inventory on hand – stocking up on items that may have a longer shelf life, in the event of further bans, and so on.
The decreased price sensitivity has led many buyers to act on their selection. According to Hills, the survey shows a growth in household average weekly food expenditure, even though average household income has not increased.
"Because they don't spend as much money on other elements of their family budget, they use some of that money on groceries and" pamper themselves "a little more than they have in the past," he says.
“This could mean that more premium brands or options are being considered that they would not normally consider. This also coincides with an apparent slowdown in private label growth – possibly explained by this 'trading-up' behavior. "
So how can pantry brands get on shopping lists?
According to Hills, the top three sources of inspiration for the food categories are:
- Price / Discounts – 67% of shoppers surveyed say "what's on sale this week" is likely to inspire their decisions.
- Online Recipes – 65% say recipes they find online are a source of inspiration.
- Ideas / recipes from family / friends – 46% say they are inspired by someone they know.
Find out how pantry brands are in the foreground in the August issue of Retail World.