Changing face of consumer habits
The futurists at WSL Strategic Retail have identified three important trends they say are important for retailers to be aware of. First, since the number of shopping trips isn't increasing, they say it's important to get shoppers to buy more. One way to do this is to focus on male shoppers, who spend more heavily than women, according to WSL. Women are spending less, the group says, because 70 percent of them fear gas prices will go up again. Men, on the other hand, started spending again as soon as gas prices dropped.
Second, WSL reports that 80 percent of shoppers say that a retailer's private label brand is as good as a nationally advertised brand but is less expensive. Beauty and personal care products are the areas that will see new private label growth. Third, WSL reports that 1.2 million consumers use only homeopathic and natural remedies for health care—twice as many as in 2004. Additionally, 47 percent of shoppers purchased at least one organic product in 2006. But, WSL says, the mainstreaming of these products is causing some consumer confusion. The group predicts that this year, the "original" producers of organic and homeopathic products will take on mainstream manufacturers and will develop a higher tier of these products. For more information on WSL's trends, go to wslstrategicretail.com.
New book deciphers myriad food labels
Food journalist and former Natural Foods Merchandiser executive editor Kimberly Lord Stewart has written Eating Between the Lines, (St. Martin's Griffin, 2007) an aisle-by-aisle guide for shoppers who want to understand food labels and find the healthiest foods in stores. Stewart explains more than 70 different labels, and covers such topics as health messages, farming and food production issues and animal welfare. Eating Between the Lines provides a nonjudgmental look at the foods available for shoppers and can help your customers make knowledgeable choices rather than choices based on marketing.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 2/p. 18