Natural Foods Merchandiser

Consumer Research Briefs

Competition fierce as gas prices rise
Shoppers are feeling the crunch—the budget crunch, that is. To help make ends meet, they're taking fewer shopping trips and frequenting supercenters where they can buy more items at a single location, according to new research from Schaumberg, Ill.-based market research company Nielsen. As rising gas prices make value and convenience more important to consumers, competition is fierce. What if you're not a supercenter? "Success will come to retailers who define themselves by who they sell to and how they sell them, not by what they sell," said Todd Hale, senior vice president of consumer and shopper insights for Nielsen Consumer Panel Services.

Parents hunger for easier options
Good news: Parents are getting the healthy food message. In a recent national survey, almost two-thirds of parents said they usually or always read food labels when trying a new product. According to the survey, conducted for San Francisco-based Maddie's Beverage Co., 63 percent of parents said they also regularly pack fresh fruits and vegetables in their children's lunchboxes. But the opportunities for retailers to reach out more with convenience and education are plentiful; nearly 50 percent of respondents said the biggest challenge to creating a healthy lifestyle for their children is lack of healthy and convenient choices.

Market differently for Venus and Mars
When it comes to grocery purchasing decisions, women value price and sales while men opt for convenience, according to a Vertis Customer Focus study released in March. Few would argue that men and women are different, and knowing those differences can help you market your store to both the feminine and masculine perspectives. Almost half of female shoppers said price-related offerings such as lowest everyday prices, advertised specials and store coupons were most important, while men said convenience factors—such as proximity to home and work—trump other supermarket factors.


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