Food Store Marketing to Address Changing Culture

In the past few years, consumers have embarked on a new kind of relationship with food. Marketers that capitalize on the changing trend can increase their sales. For many enterprises, this means expanding beyond the 'mom' target in marketing as well as learning the new saladbardefinitions of cooking.

A Hartman Group report on the way consumers view food explains that the recent cultural shifts are permanent, not fads. To succeed, a food marketer must understand the new consumer mindset and how to market to specific targets.  One key point in the report addresses the importance of recognizing the ‘eater’ versus ‘cook’.  Researchers believe that the American shopper base is made up of more eaters than cooks. To support this contention they point out that for 76% of eating occasions, the meal content is decided on only 1 hour ahead of time. This is because consumers are busy and don’t have time to plan meals. In addition, more consumers are trying to satisfy the food preferences of several family members.

When consumers think about food and cooking these days, they’re increasingly like to use prepared foods. This tendency increases during the course of the day. While only 23% of consumers purchase prepared products for breakfast, by dinner, that number increases to 42%.  Food retailers of all types can increase customer visits by promoting the products that will satisfy this interest.

In addition, families don’t gather around the table for meals like they used to. Today, solo eating stands at 47%. Often, these consumers go out and purchase what they want to eat immediately before the meal.

As consumers consider where they want to purchase their meal or snack, the top selection criteria are the overall quality of products (73%), the shopping experience at the store (64%), and the selection of national brands (56%).

Leading edge food retailers are already recognizing the importance of marketing to a wider variety of shopper types in order to grow sales.

[Source: Reframing Retail Through the Lens of Changing Food Culture. Hartman Group. Feb. 2013. Web. 19 Feb. 2013]


Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.