June 2011

Getting to the future faster

Retailers and brands share mutual objectives - increase customers, increase sales, increase profits; all the while managing efforts for sustainability, innovation and keeping one eye peeled looking at future trends and thinking about how to at least be involved in what is going to happen.

These days, with all the influences that we cannot control, especially the weather - which is reaching havoc on our global food supplies (read more on that in The future of our foods, the impact of weather) and achieving success is more difficult and more exhausting than ever. Especially the future trends. Now that many supermarkets (and brands) have committed the proper resources to websites, the media pundits are out there declaring the web is dead and will be gone in less than ten years.

read more

Frozen pizza hits a growth bump

For the first time in recent memory, a marketing onslaught by quick-serve pizza chains has stifled encroachment by the retail frozen pizza category.

Dollar sales of frozen pizza fell 4.5% to $4.02 billion in U.S. food, drug and mass merchandiser stores (including Walmart) during the 52 weeks ended April 16, 2011, according to Nielsen data tracking prepackaged, UPC-coded products only. This occurred on a 1.3% equivalized unit volume (EUV) decline (16-ounce basis) during the same period.

This is a sharp reversal for frozen pizza, which has typically earned its high-visibility freezer door position as a convenient, low-priced, heat-and-eat meal solution for households constrained by time and budgets. For example, in the previous 52-week period, frozen pizza dollar sales had risen 7.4% on a 7.1% EUV increase, stated Nielsen.

read more

When will retailers see a social-media payoff?

Retailers are investing more in social media to better understand and listen to their customers. The primary benefit they seek today - insights, rather than direct commerce.

These insights could affect retail performance, since even small distinctions sway decisions on where people choose to shop.

This explains why nearly three-quarters of retailers (72%) plan to increase their spending on social networks in 2011 vs. last year - even though 62% feel their ROI on social marketing strategies is unclear.

read more

Soy foods slip, no relief in sight

The three-year decline in soy food sales shows no signs of abating.

Several trends could steepen declines, estimated by Mintel to be another 17% between the 2010 to 2012 period (following a 16% slide to $2.6 billion between 2008 and 2010, as measured by SPINS). The Mintel research firm cites "non-soy-based product threats, higher ingredient prices passed on to consumers, soy burnout, and soy allergies" as reasons for the soy foods sales downturn.

Soy food and beverage makers reveled in superfood status and charged premium prices heading into the recession, when consumers cut back, observes F3. Product innovations slowed and consumer interest waned.

read more

Amazon eyes Seattle with deep promotions

Seattle-area supermarkets should study the effects of a powerful 'free milk for a year' promotion, which AmazonFresh recently offered to new online delivery customers in this city who ordered $75 or more in merchandise.

"With AmazonFresh, you can place an order tonight after the kids are asleep and have your favorite groceries - from bananas and milk to flowers and wine - waiting on your doorstep the next morning," tempted the e-mail campaign first reported by GeekWire.com.

In February, the service offered a 24-hour promotion of 50% off of grocery orders up to $100 to new Seattle customers, according to another blogger, the freebieaddiction.com.

read more

Opportunities to recapture HBC share

In the three largest health and beauty care categories - over-the-counter medications and remedies, vitamins and hair care - supermarkets posted higher percentage rates of dollar sales gains than the food-drug-mass channels (including Walmart) rang up in the 52 weeks ended April 16, 2011, according to Nielsen data.

Granted, these gains came on a relatively smaller sales base. But they do correlate with a rise in demand for one-stop convenience: Harsh winter weather made extra trips tough to justify for many households, and gas prices soared in recent months. If food stores also gain access and devote space to preferred HBC brands in their markets, the convenience they offer would be more relevant to shoppers.

read more

September 2012

read more