Food Marketing Is Changing

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By Robert Tuomi

(WINDSOR, ON) – The way the food processing industry and the way supermarkets sell food is about to change. So says Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert in his look at the new year. Omaha-based Lempert expects that the most dramatic food changes will be caused by ever-changing consumer needs and their relationships with merchants, brands and food.

He sees what he calls the “Indie Woman, over 30 million strong as a major new influence. These Indies are twenty and thirty something’s living independently and have no children. When not busy being social or growing their careers they shop spending $50 billion on food and beverages in the US annually. A recent ConAgra survey tells Lempert that 59% of them want multi-serve frozen meals. To keep them happy he expects brands will increase their offerings of semi-homemade meals featuring fresh-tasting, high-quality ingredients.

Change is afoot for supermarkets in-store brands like Loblaws’

President’s Choice (PC) if it follows the trend. Lempert thinks the products that will soon be on offer will not simply be products that emulate their national counterparts but also new products exclusive to the brands. Although Lempert sees this happing in the US, PC has been doing this here for years, its Canadian competitors will probably follow along as well.

This change may have the store brands challenging the national brands.

The nationals, to offset this challenge to their supremacy, will start using their consumer clout by associating with popular causes loved by their consumers. They are expected to find greater purpose in serving the larger community. The ConAgra survey found that 62 percent of consumers appreciate companies able to donate to important social causes.

Technology will play a greater role with shoppers using their mobile phones in the grocery aisles to match their shopping lists with their recipes. The next phase of this will be new apps that will order the ingredients for a recipe and check-out directly from a mobile device or in-car touch screen. To help, grocers will busy themselves installing drive-through windows for quick order pickup.

Supermarkets are on the verge of being the new “social media” by becoming the centre of their customers’ communities. They will begin to offer services such as “community cooking centres” allowing shoppers to collaborate and learn from each other.

Retailers will also alter their store layouts putting in new solution centres where all ingredients for certain recipes are bundled.

Another major expected change is an increase in breakfast variety with shoppers buying more eggs, meats, and yogurt, as well as whole grain products, so they can make better breakfasts at home. It could be the end of dried cereal.

One of the complications of modern day food packaging is the small size of the package for consumers who want to know more about what they are buying. There just isn’t enough room for information so the package could soon be “touch” sensitive able to reveal additional information on command. With a mobile device app consumers could also access the manufacturer to learn more about an ingredient or health claim simply by focusing the mobile device on the product’s label. The could also help them identify where the ingredients come from, who prepared the food, the company’s history and even other customer reviews and ratings.

And, it appears that children will soon rule the food decision process with them demanding more international food. Growth in Latino and Asian populations, along with growing consumer interest in adding more flavour and variety to mealtime, has led to more growth opportunities for South American, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines in the food world. From school cafeterias, to the dining room table, global flavours are sprouting up in places other than restaurants.

As children become exposed to global cuisine flavours at a much younger age than in previous generations, international flavours will be more accepted by them as they age with their palates more sophisticated at a younger age. With children influencing nearly 80 percent of purchase decisions by families, look for consumers to spend more time in the international flavour aisle of the grocery store.

And finally look for Pinterest to become a foodie’s best friend. Right now 57 percent of Pinterest, the pinboard-style photo-sharing website, is food related content. Some 33 percent of its users say they have purchased food or cooking items after seeing them on site, according to a survey by PriceGrabber.

Grocery retailers themselves are now beginning to “pin.” The next evolution will have consumers clicking to buy ingredients for a recipe on Pinterest or other social media platforms.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.
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