Shoppers Become Commanders - The Lempert Report

The Lempert Report
March 17, 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. Phil can predict the future —and then help businesses and consumers understand it. For more than 25 years, Lempert, an expert analyst on consumer behavior, marketing trends, new products and the changing retail landscape, has identified and explained impending trends to consumers and some of the most prestigious companies worldwide. Known as The Supermarket Guru®,, Lempert is a distinguished author and speaker who alerts customers and business leaders to impending corporate and consumer trends, and empowers them to make educated purchasing and marketing decisions. To see more of The Lempert Report visit: The Lempert Report for Thursday March 19, 2009 Shoppers Become Commanders There is little question that we are still in the very early stages of learning how consumers might respond to messages from brands and retailers on their cell phones and mobile devices. The questions abound. Intrusive? Privacy threatening? Valuable? Timely? Perhaps the answer will be all of the above—with individual reactions that vary with how messages are served up, whether people are shopping at the time, or have previously exhibited any interest in a specific brand. Some 40 million people currently access the Internet on phones, twice the number of 2006. To put in perspective, that is only 16% of people with cell phones and those visit six sites a month on average versus 100 on their computers. Look at a few ongoing programs: Kraft software for an Apple iPhone application, the iFood Assistant, helps people find recipes, build shopping lists and consider dinner suggestions. claims that its Grocery IQ shopping list builder, with more than 130,000 items in it, is the top-selling lifestyle application in the Apple iPhone store. The Kroger-Cellfire program with CPG leaders, including Kimberly-Clark, links a mobile application to a users grocery savings card and a retailers point-of-sale system to apply discounts automatically at checkout. As The Lempert Report sees this trend, one hoped-for retail outcome is to deliver consumers a sense of control and in-store satisfaction that will make repeat visits likelier to the store. For CPG, we believe, its about intimacy, privilege and insights that help lead people to more intelligent and appropriate brand purchase decisions. Retro Sodas Whats old is new again, and there is little doubt that the retro flavors of both Pepsi and Mountain Dew that are slated to hit the shelves in early April will be a very interesting test to see if consumers will do what they say they will. It is all about the sugars: these two beverages, with distinct retro labels, will be made with real sugar (although its not yet disclosed if it is cane sugar or beet sugar) instead of the controversial High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). The throwback strategy leaves Pepsi an easy out. If the throwback formula works to get people to drink these two sodas instead of other beverages, Pepsi can easily make the move to include these in their regular offerings. Sure, the novelty will attract trial, but we would suggest that the strategy also has a huge opportunity to regain some of the lost baby boomer drinkers who have shunned away from HFCS as well as an entire new generation of beverage drinkers who have not gone the soda route. Initial reports say that these two sodas will be sold at the identical price as the conventional HFCS formula and be available only from April 20 till June 13th. Expect to see those die hard anti HFCS soda drinkers use this as an opportunity to load up as insurance just in case the products disappear after June 13th (although our bet is that they will be around for a long time). While the strategy may seem risky to some, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been producing a limited run of Coke without HFCS and using sugar to make its Kosher for Passover products for decades and yes, there are the real Coke aficionados who use the opportunity to stock up for months to come; just remember to be sure to store the products in a cool dark location, otherwise you may actually have a loss of sweetness over an extended period of time. For more analysis and insights log on to the B2B page of The Lempert Report uploads right here every Thursday. To reach me directly, please email me at For information on New Products, visit our weekly videocast: