Like most editors, by February my desk is filled with reports from leading marketing firms, all of whom have their own spin on what retailers need to know most about consumer behavior in the coming months. Given I frequently cover wellness trends, one report in particular from The Futures Company stood out among the stack of many. Of their five grocery retail trend predictions for 2011, three had to do with consumer’s desires for better health and what it means for retailers.
While I might not agree with everything the report predicts will happen this year, the findings are definitely worth considering.
Prediction 1: Get Fresh With Me — The Futures Company’s research found that “fresh” tops consumer’s list of attributes that are important to them when purchasing food products. They conclude that in 2011 “fresh” will continue to grow in importance as a key-deciding factor on where consumers shop for groceries. Why? Their research shows risk-conscious consumers see “fresh” as a path to safer and healthier food consumption. As a result, they note, fresh fruits and vegetables will be perceived as healthier than all-natural, organic, frozen or canned goods. Future’s company officials also add that locally grown will continue to play a strong role in the freshness movement. Predictably, should this occur, pressure will be on groceries’ pre-prepared offerings/meals to ratchet up freshness and healthiness.
Prediction 2: Be My health Partner – Helping consumers wade through their choices will be critical for retailers this year. According to The Futures Company research, 71% consumers want grocers to make it easier to determine what foods are healthier than others. Future’s experts note, therefore, that 2011 will see consumers looking to grocery stores to demystify confusion around what constitutes a healthy versus less healthy choice. Retailers who capitalize on this opportunity, for example, by featuring easy-to-interpret symbols on the healthfulness of various grocery items and move beyond traditional labeling, the company notes, will earn customer loyalty.
Prediction 3: Energy Check In Aisle 5 – The Future’s report also noted that energy is now a more valuable resource than time. As such, officials believe in the not too distant future grocers should consider installing monitoring systems that enable customers to check energy levels, similar to blood pressure monitors that were introduced near grocery pharmacies years ago. Taking it a step further, the report asserts savvy retailers will link test results to recommendations for foods and beverages consumers should add to their shopping carts that day.