Supermarket Ratings -The Lempert Report

The Lempert Report
April 15, 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 April 16, 2009 Everyone should want to be the best - but when it comes to ratings, timing makes a difference Consumer Reports magazine takes consistent measures to uphold its credibility and reputation for fairness and unbiased advice. No question. The Consumer Reports cover story in its May 2009 issue has consumers rating supermarkets on many criteria, and this year, Wegmans topped the list. Congratulations, Wegmans, which we at The Lempert Report agree is a wonderful retailer. Since our nations economic volatility has changed the way people plan trips, approach stores and buy what they need - it seems like common sense to us that ratings of stores would also change. In normal times, Wegmans would appear to be an obvious contender for the top spot. It is important to note that this Consumer Reports' survey was based on 32,599 respondents about their experiences at supermarkets, supercenters or warehouse clubs during the period between -- April 2007 and April 2008. The data is frankly just too old to be believed accurate in today's climate. For these ratings to be accurate and powerful, the timing lag between fielding the survey and reporting it must be shortened. Supermarkets operate in a just in time world, more households are doing the same, and those who consider themselves as pollsters must follow suit. The topline is that Wegmans is a full-service chain that earns high marks for meat, produce and service, and clearly operates in a different realm from value focused retailers like Aldi, Costco and Trader Joes; any of which we would suggest would earn the top spot if the survey was conducted over the past 9 or so months. Ron Popiel, you had BUTTER watch out! It seems like the next big thing is all about butter - but its not about taste or health. It's about how it is served at the table. The Butter Wizard is a temperature controlled butter dish, battery operated of course, to keep your butter spreadable and at the perfect temperature everytime. For those who like their butter hotel style, there is the One Click Butter Cutter, which acts like a guillotene and slices off pads of butter - 4 slices to a tablespoon - with just a click. The rise in Family Planning If you are having more sex these days, join the rest of the country. How else do you think people entertain themselves and relieve stress of the recession, when they can no longer go to restaurants and theaters and take fewer vacations? 2007 was a record birth year with 4.31 million newborns and a 2.3% birth gain among women ages 30-34 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. But there are indications that the birth rates of 2008 and 2009 might be even stronger. 'Couples fun' is indeed the trend. Nielsen data for U.S. food, drug and mass merchandiser stores (including Walmart) in the 52 weeks ended March 21, 2009 show that total family planning dollar sales were up by 7.9% to $722.3 million, which followed a 9.3% lift in the prior 12 months. The aisle of promise looks to be in over-the-counter female contraceptives. This segment has more than doubled in size quickly—to $165.9 million in the latest 52 weeks. Equivalized unit volume gained an impressive 29 percent. The question begs to be asked. Are people having more fun in the bedroom, or just being more concerend about the costs attached to raising a child. 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: