Recent reports predicting drought-related impact on food prices and what it means for grocery bills reinforce the ways in which food retailers are meeting the needs of their customers. According to Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) research, since the recession in late 2007, 19 million more households have adopted a more economical approach to food-buying and value-seeking shopping habits.
A collaborative study by FMI and its research partner Booz & Company, 2012 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, demonstrated how consumers are willing to accept living with less, traveling farther for lower prices, and noting that price, assortment and convenience are the most important factors affecting how they choose where to shop. The U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends data found that 42 percent of consumers have always been frugal, with an additional 32 percent adopting this behavior during the recession.
“As an industry noted for customer service, food retailers understand and adapt to the changing consumer mindset, and as one of the nimblest industries with a competitive profit margin of about one percent, we’ve always been in business to ultimately serve the customer,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and CEO. “Food retailers are arguably at the front-lines of economic stress, and they are best prepared to listen to the changing consumer.”
Senior Director of Consumer Affairs David Fikes observed, “The recession prompted consumers to adapt a more economizing mindset, but what was once seen as a temporary move is turning out to be a lasting change in shopping behavior. Food retailers continue to respond to the needs of their customers in a number of ways, including offering loyalty card discounts and value-oriented private label products, notifying consumers about relevant coupons, providing time- and money-saving grocery buying tips and, in some instances, stabilizing prices on staple items during times of particular need.”