Achieving growth in challenging times – three shopper priorities revealed

Date : 17 January 2012

Despite the economic downturn, people are still interested in maintaining the quality of their food and groceries they buy, but want more help from the industry to do so – according to research from IGD.

Speaking at the Quality Meat Scotland conference today (Wednesday), IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch revealed the three priorities that shoppers want food companies to focus on:

  • Helping them stick to a budget
  • Providing more information about product provenance
  • Creating a more exciting store experience

On sticking to a budget:

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “In Scotland, only five per cent of consumers expect to be better off this year. The gloomy economic climate means we are all scrutinising every pound we spend.

“But this does not necessarily mean that shoppers want to cut back on their food quality – in fact a quarter of Scottish shoppers expect to see quality play a bigger role when deciding what red meat they buy this year.

“What shoppers want is more help with improving their eating experience, while maintaining a set budget. Over a quarter of people want help on how to cook, while a fifth would like more recipe ideas. And retailers are responding to this by, for example, offering a meal planning service which includes products on a budget.

“The simplest way to make savings on our food bills is cut back on the waste we all throw away. According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the average British family could save over £50 per month by eliminating food waste. Food companies are helping by providing free recipe cards, to help shoppers buy only what they need and how to use leftovers. They can/are also help[ing] by providing information how to store perishable food.”

On providing more provenance information:

Joanne Denney-Finch, said: “Despite the financial pessimism, the top things that people are still prepared to pay a bit extra for are: quality of ingredients, animal welfare standards, locally produced and a known country of origin. Taken altogether these four factors give a reasonable definition of provenance.

“Scottish produce is well regarded – for example, nine of ten people recognise the Scotch Beef logo in Scotland, while Aberdeen Angus is well established as the leading beef breed for quality throughout the English speaking world. It also helps that the whisky industry is paving the way to new markets, helping to raise awareness of Scotland and its regions. Producers can build on this and really promote their Scottish credentials as a byword for quality.”

On creating more in-store theatre:

Joanne Denney-Finch, said: “The majority of people still view shopping for food as a chore. So anything that makes it more fun and interesting will help increase the excitement about their shopping experience.

“One way for retailers to do this is to invest in digital screens and Wi-Fi to encourage customers to use their smart phones to help them choose products, especially at that critical moment when they make their choices. For instance, delivering advice on which cuts suit which methods of cooking or what alternatives are available.”


Notes to editors:

  • IGD provides information, insight and best practice to the food and grocery industry worldwide
  • Joanne Denney-Finch was speaking at QMS Scotland conference, ‘Opportunities in a time Of economic uncertainty’, at the Dakota Hotel, Edinburgh on 18 January 2012
  • The consumer research quoted above is taken from IGD’s shopper research – we’re speaking to a 1,000 shoppers every month to provide insight on their attitudes, motivators and barriers to food and grocery shopping, and what they expect to be doing in the future

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