Study Findings Revealing New Eating Culture Implications for Food Retail at the FMI Midwinter Conference

Daymon Worldwide CEO Carla Cooper and Hartman Group founder Harvey Hartman presented the findings of a comprehensive food culture study revealing a new Eating Culture and its implications for food retailing at Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) Midwinter Executive Conference, Monday, Jan. 21.

The study, Reframing Retail Through The Lens of Changing Food Culture, combines insights from qualitative and quantitative research methods conducted from 2010-2012, plus targeted ethnographic interviews in the major urban markets of Seattle, Detroit and Dallas, to inform the surveys and capture in-person, in-home and at-store behavior.

According to Cooper, the results of the study demonstrate a “seismic” shift in the ways consumers are interacting with food, including evolving consumer shopping behavior and brand preferences.

“An eating culture is inherently more inclusive than a cooking culture.  Everyone is an eater, so everyone can participate,” says Cooper. “As a result, we as an industry need to reconsider our consumers and customers…not as cooks, not as shoppers…but as eaters. Equally as important will be to take the next step and adjust business strategies to align with consumer expectations and desires. We all have a role to play in bringing the implications to life for the benefit of our organizations and our customers.”

The study details how consumer food experience has outgrown the family kitchen, resulting in less cooking, more frequent shopping trips and a desire for food experimentation and exploration. “The research reveals significant changes in eating patterns and how they impact shopping for food,” says Hartman. “Food is now everywhere, and our routine engagement with it is more direct and personal than ever before.”

The study launch was initially announced at the 2012 FMI meeting in Dallas. Key areas of examination include: the power of the retail experience, quantifying the most influential aspects of the retail experience; consumer orientation to brands, quantifying the degree to which consumers become habituated to certain brands versus choose different brands for categories they routinely shop; and the significance of occasions in fragmenting traditional weekly shopping trips into more frequent visits oriented to eating occasions.

FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said, “We worked with FMI members, Daymon Worldwide and Hartman Group, to bring you this new perspective on the shopper. The resulting picture translates customers’ food preferences into retailer opportunities that curate personalized shopping experiences.”

For more information about the study, contact your account representative at Daymon Worldwide or Hartman Group.

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