Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Products Industry Buzz

Aisles of decision

Almost 30 percent of shoppers wait until they're in the store before they decide what brand they'll buy, according to a new global study by the New York-based Ogilvy Group. Ogilvy interviewed more than 14,000 shoppers in 700 retail outlets across 24 markets worldwide. The research spanned five retail channels across six product categories. Researchers found:

  • One in 10 shoppers changes his or her mind in the store, buying a different brand than the one originally planned.
  • Almost 20 percent of shoppers will buy from categories they had no intention of buying from before entering the store.
  • In the U.S., about one in five shoppers leaves a product he or she had planned to buy on the shelf and walks away empty handed. According to Ogilvy, this statistic alone represents tens of millions of dollars in new purchases up for grabs by marketers who can successfully captivate customers as they shop.

    Cereal company lands in agriculture
    Demand for organic food is growing faster than the acreage of organic farmland. With energy costs rising and fuel crops, such as corn for ethanol, competing for cropland, manufacturers are seeing the benefit of getting into farming themselves. This summer, Richmond, B.C.-based organic cereal maker Nature's Path bought 2,240 acres adjacent to two established organic farms in western Saskatchewan, Canada, to help the family farmers remain sustainable. In the partnership, Nature's Path owns the land and a portion of the value of the crop while the farmer purchases seeds, farms the land and owns the majority of the value of the crop. While helping a family farm stay in business, Nature's Path also helps guarantee that organic grains will be available for its products.

    New! Improved! (sales, that is)
    Shoppers are more willing to pay a higher price for new products than pay a fresh new price for the same old thing, according to research from Canada's Conference Board. Introducing new products can help manufacturers—and retailers—alleviate the burden of high food inflation because consumers will not be so concerned about a change in price, according to the report, "Canadian Industrial Outlook: Canada's Food Manufacturing Industry—Summer 2008." New products, says the report, are "the perfect way to mitigate cost hikes" because they create fewer worries about price comparisons. The time is ripe for innovation, the report says. "With the introduction of higher-value-added products, companies are expected to be able to gradually pass their higher input costs on to their customers."

    Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 8/p. 8

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