The current economic situation has exacted a heavy toll on consumers, putting many into a hunker-down mode when it comes to spending. Necessity has driven some of the change; many consumers simply have less money. Others, though, are making a more conscious choice to watch their spending and even upend their habits.
This "new normal" not only impacts discretionary spending, but spending on necessities as well. In some sense, discretionary items now can encompass "essentials," ranging from shelter and clothing to fuel and food.
Indeed, there's mounting evidence that the nation's economic woes have not just been an issue of concern, but may result in longer-term behavioral changes. Recent shopper research conducted by Kraft Foods points to a shopper who is much more cautious about spending, intent on getting the best value and willing to fundamentally change how he or she shops to cope with the new reality.
The reality for many consumers is that the economic recovery has been a non-event. Consumer confidence is still at low levels, and there are many factors at work that make the picture quite negative for the average middle-class household.
The implications for food marketers like Kraft Foods, as well as food retailers, could be profound. A more discerning and careful consumer means that both marketers and retailers may have to work harder to meet their needs. But it also opens up opportunities for companies that understand the new consumer mindset and respond appropriately.[Source: Lukaszewski, Sheila. Shopper Insights at Kraft Foods/Supermarket News. October 2011. Web. 26 Oct. 2011.]