2009 National Grocers Association Consumer Panel Survey - The Lempert Report

The Lempert Report
February 04, 2009

The Lempert Report Food News: Marketing, analysis, issues & trends and the impact on food and retail environments, specifically for the B2B food world with reporting and commentary on consumer and retailing trends by Phil Lempert. To see more of The Lempert Report visit: http://www.thelempertreport.com. The Lempert Report for Thursday February 5, 2009 2009 National Grocers Association/ SupermarketGuru Consumer Panel Survey released. Rarely does a year like 2008 erupt—one that punished consumers, homeowners, and investors with repeated financial blows. Millions reeled, changed their longstanding patterns of eating out and buying food and beverage in retail stores, and sought to save in many ways that seem likely to stick. The financial uprooting of America cut deeply and broadly and left relatively few untouched. As household budgets and retirement plans withered, consumers took control of what they could—their shopping plans, their retail spend, their eating strategies—to become fitter and weather these tough times. Consumer relationships with food and beverage, and the stores that provide them, have changed suddenly. With insights from this report, retailers and suppliers will be better able to adjust strategies and execution to better serve the shell-shocked masses. For your copy of the survey, just log on to the B2B tab on SupermarketGuru.com and click on resources; or you can download it from the N.G.A. website. Americas shopping public expects food retailers to satisfy them more in areas of price/cost savings, service, and assortments, especially healthful, locally grown foods. Price is the #1 shopper issue in 2009—even with the potential economic lift from a new presidency and an aggressive Congress. Families dislike deficits in their budgets. With most households spending $96 or more each week on groceries, stores that help them save with little compromise will gain a vital edge. Price will color everything this year. Survey findings, disclosed in this report, indicate a loss of traction in the importance of store features that classically rate high in store selection. Among them: availability of high-quality meats, seafood, fruits and vegetables; nutritional and health information; organic foods; and consistent product freshness in perishables and center-store categories. Concurrently, consumers say that low prices, sale items and money-saving specials, frequent shopper programs and private labels are rising in importance. In this presentation of survey findings, we compare the latest consumer responses with those of a year ago, and where appropriate, with an earlier study from 2003, when the United States was also in a fragile economic position following the unprecedented terrorist attacks of September 2001. Some additional highlights include: Nearly six in ten consumers believe stores should support their local areas, and they factor this into their selections of grocery retailers How can we improve our stores? Not surprising in the current economy, 48% of consumers name price/cost savings as their #1 desire. More locally grown foods is second at 40%. In addition, more organic foods slipped from its fifth-place tie last year to a more modest 17% level of mention. When Consumers Buy a New Food Product for the First Timeits all about the brand name. This matters to more than nine in ten consumers (92%) Whom can you trust? When it comes to nutritional information, Consumers seem to be uncomfortable with the sources they use: Trust ratings are low across the board. Respondents rate the Internet as the most trustworthy (26%). Physicians rank second (17%). Tied for third are nutritionists/dietitians (12%) and magazines (12%). Friends and family rank fifth (8%). We believe these benchmarking comparisons add value to our member guidance on evolving market issues, and where N.G.A. members ought to be focusing their efforts today. The 2009 economic landscape has consumers, retailers, and suppliers in a very different place from just a year earlier. Our study findings should help keep operators competitive and aligned with the latest priorities of their demanding consumer bases. We thank ConAgra Foods for their support in funding the 2009 National Grocers Association Supermarket Guru Consumer Panel Survey. To reach me directly, please email me at Phil@SupermarketGuru.com For information on New Products, visit our weekly videocast: http://www.ratefoods.com