A Prepared-Meal Lesson for Supermarkets

Articles
October 20, 2010

A Prepared-Meal Lesson for Supermarkets

Even the wealthy felt the pinch of the recession. But their fast food habit that became more prominent as the economy tanked persists, even as their other expenses such as fine dining rises, notes a Wall Street Journal account of new American Express research.

Even the wealthy felt the pinch of the recession. But their fast food habit that became more prominent as the economy tanked persists, even as their other expenses such as fine dining rises, notes a Wall Street Journal account of new American Express research. 

The ‘ultra-affluent’ who charge more than $7,000 per month and meet other income criteria spent 24% more on fast food in Q2 2010 than in the same year-ago period vs. an 8% rise for the average U.S. consumer. The ‘ultra-affluent’ also spent 12% more on fine dining and 7% more on casual dining, showed Amex data.

The fast food draw is notable, believes The Lempert Report, because it signifies attitude. Frugality isn’t the sole reason this group hiked its fast food spend; it may not even be the primary reason. 

More likely, we feel, it’s the sentiment that rules don’t apply to them, not even nutrition rules that are inarguable. This high-income group can easily afford any kind of healthful food it wants, yet it increasingly chooses foods that so often represent an anti-health and wellness message. 

The takeaway for supermarkets: satisfy both ends of their taste spectrum, especially in prepared foods. Merchandise some fried chicken and ground beef dishes along with the salads, turkey and steaks, and don’t be surprised by the sales velocity at the lower end of the nutritional scale.