As the new year progresses, consumers are getting the idea that any improvement in their personal financial situation will be gradual. At least one survey shows that the number of consumers who are very concerned about the economy has remained unchanged for nearly 3 years. But, they are growing tired of cutting their dining out budget and cooking at home. As consumers shift their habits, savvy marketers can increase market share.
Toward the end of last year, researchers detected a change in how consumers were purchasing food. They noted a significant upswing in shoppers who were buying prepared supermarket foods. Specifically, over 1/3rd, 35%, of consumers buy prepared dishes at retail food stores on a weekly basis. This statistic is up from 18% the previous year. In addition, 32% of consumers plan to spend somewhat or much more at these establishments for the following reasons:
- Want to eat at home more often 72%
- Purchase prepared food more often 24%
- Changing my diet 18%
While shoppers peruse the aisles, contemplating prepared salads and side dishes, they’re not just thinking about dinner. Nearly 30% of shoppers say they’re extremely concerned about the safety of prepared food. This statistic is similar to what they say about food they eat in restaurants. About 28% of consumers are extremely concerned about the meal the server brings to the table. This sentiment is certainly an opportunity for food marketers to highlight the specific steps they are taking to ensure safety.
Once supermarkets and other food retailers address those concerns, they stand to increase sales in 2012. The Technomic survey indicates that 31% of consumers will spend somewhat less or much less on restaurant takeout or delivery. These consumers make a ready market for grocers who promote affordable, convenient and healthy meals.[Source: What Consumers Foresee in the New Year. Technomic.com. December 2011. Web. 25 Jan. 2012]