Is Your Brand at Risk?

The Lempert Report
April 19, 2021

62% of Shoppers Have Changed Brand Loyalties

Matthew Pavich of Revionics penned an op-ed in Supermarket News that explored the phenomenon that brands are faced with as a result of the pandemic and pandemic food purchases. He correctly states that the inventory shortages, lifestyle changes and evolving purchasing behaviors have all contributed to changing brand loyalties during the pandemic, leading shoppers to buy new products and switch brand allegiances. According to Ketchum, he points out, 62% of people who have shifted their brand preferences will make that change permanent before the pandemic is over. Wow.

Three out 5 shoppers are at risk for CPG brands. The big question is how and if these at risk bands will respond. McKinsey, he says, finds that value is the number one reason consumers are trying new brands and new places to shop. I agree with all of these, however, the truth is we DON’T know how shoppers will be buying their grocers post-pandemic, if there ever is an era of post-pandemic. Yes, we can assume that more people will continue to select their groceries on-line and either pick them up or have them delivered. But for me that’s about the only given. Will shoppers wake up and find a new desire to lose those extra punds that they put on during their non-stop eating frenzy of comfort foods? Or wil they just be too depressed and discouraged to even try? Will people go back to their offices? Or feel its safer, easier and be more complacent to just work from home and snack all day?

One of the reasons that shoppers are trying new brands is that many CPG companies are going thru a SKU reduction – so perhaps that shoppers regular purchases are no longer available. Or is it that they are simply bored having eaten most of their meals over the past 13 months at home and are yearning for some excitement – any excitement – that they can muster. Should big or small brands give up on brand loyalty. Absolutely not. This is the time, more than ever before, to be innovating. To be creating more exciting foods. To be creating more exotic recipes and flavors. Plant-based everything has been the winner so far, and while many brands are moving to plant-based products, which is good for our bodies and the environment, we need to be cautious – and not have blinders on. There are a lot of other food opportunities – and those brands and companies that are looking for “what’s next “ are the ones who will create the next trends and gain shopper loyalty.