Weight Management Has Strong Influence

Devotees of name-​brand diets spend more than $3,400 on groceries each year, while those sticking to low-​fat foods spend just over $800, according to findings from a new Catalina Marketing study.  Weight-​management has a “strong influence” on the grocery purchases of 56% of American shoppers and at least “some influence” on the purchases of another one-​third.  Even more striking is the fact that four out of 10 shoppers followed some type of diet in the past year. 

The new study categorizes dieters into six groups: Low-​fat & Fit, Carbohydrate Conscious, Devoted Dieters, Healthy Habits, Unconcerned Families, and Calorie Conscious.

Low-​fat & Fit shoppers are frequent purchasers of yogurt, meat substitutes, tofu, beans, grains, organic milk & high fiber foods. Many also claimed to buy high fiber foods often.  Relatively speaking, they tend to buy much less diet soda, other diet beverages, 100-​calorie packs, frozen meals & sugar-​free products.

The Carbohydrate Conscious group maintains a high purchase rate of sports drinks, diet-​measured meals, energy bars, new-​age juice drinks and healthier cereals. Many report frequently buying 100-​calorie packs, sugar-​free snacks & candy and meal replacement bars. Forty-​six percent are very concerned about managing or losing weight, while 30% state that weight-​management has a strong influence on their grocery purchases.  Interestingly, this group maintains the highest percentage of men and on average is the youngest.

Devoted Dieters tend to follow established, easily accessible diet regimens, e.g. Weight Watchers, Slim-​Fast and Atkins. They frequently purchase egg substitutes, frozen diet meals, cereal bars and 100-​calorie packs.  Devoted Dieters possess the most value for retailers in terms of weight-​management food purchases, as members of the group spend $1,244 on weight-​management products, accounting for 38% of their grocery bill.

A segment called Healthy Habits is most likely to purchase weight-​smart food brands and products like soy, meat substitutes and frozen low-​fat desserts. Close to half of their total grocery bill (47%) is made up by weight-​management products.

Unconcerned Families, is made up of those who usually don't concern themselves with nutrition, but do buy weight-​management products. Shoppers who belong to the segment usually prefer kid-​friendly foods that taste good, as many are shopping for their children.  While these individuals tend to spend a significant amount at the grocery store, only 31% report that weight-​management has a strong influence on their grocery purchases.

Calorie Conscious consumers are low-​fat dieters who care more about nutritional content than brand-​endorsed diets. Frequent name brands purchased by this group include Diet Mountain Dew, Crystal Light, Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice.  These shoppers are most responsive to educational marketing messages.

"The goal for CPG brands becomes less about selling to as many shoppers as possible and more about encouraging high purchase volume from a relatively small core audience," said Sharon Glass, Catalina Marketing's group vice president of health, beauty and wellness, in a statement. "By communicating with each consumer based on individual preferences, loyalty is sustained and real profitability is recognized."

"Balancing the Scale: Reaching Today's Grocery Shopper With Your Weight-​Management Products," conducted by Catalina Marketing, January 2010.  Website: www​.catalinamarketing​.com.