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Pamela Bond's Blog

Grocers are winners in a recession, according to new research

What's good news for grocery retailers? The recession, according to a new Nielsen report. Nielsen found that 46 percent of American households are eating out less. But they still gotta eat. Instead of restaurants, diners are hitting grocery stores for their sustenance. Through September 2009, perishable department sales grew faster than all other retail sectors. Deli spending was up 5 percent. Fresh meat and seafood gained 4 percent. Produce, as well as bakery, increased 3 percent. Here are other highlights from the Nielsen report and ways to make the most of the findings: A promotion is a key factor fueling supermarket meat and seafood sales. Fifty-one percent of meat and seafood is being purchased on sale, and 41 percent of shoppers were enticed to buy on-sale items by prominently placed circulars.
To do: If you offer a deal at the meat counter, advertise it around the store or in local newspapers. In the produce section, shoppers are sticking to core fruits and vegetables, such as berries, cherries, grapes, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes and corn. Shoppers are less likely to experiment, according to Nielsen. Also, “well being” shoppers, a group that makes up 25 percent of the population according to the Natural Marketing Institute, use quality as their purchase barometer, not price or brand image.
To do: Stock up on the ol’ standbys and make sure they’re as fresh as possible. Meal planning is coming of age with web-based recipe resources, TV chef programs and iPhone applications. More than a million viewers watched the Food Network during prime time in 2009—a 16 percent increase over full-year 2008. Meal planning is one of the largest online activities.
To do: Educate your employees on how to use iPhone or smart phone applications for foodies. That way, they can better help customers cruising the market with their smart phones. For example, gluten-free and locavore iPhone applications are available through the Apple iTunes store, as well as other cool apps for cooks. Or develop a custom iPhone or smart phone application for your store that lets shoppers search special offers and find recipes for those on-sale items.

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