Trading up to the top shelf

Pantry
Pantry

Retailers, manufacturers and their brands are fighting harder than ever to woo and win share of shoppers at shelf. Covid-19 is behind many of the challenges and opportunities that the industry is facing across the board. The ambient aisles are no different, with shelf-stable products being anything but ‘stable’ in this tumultuous time.

A recent survey of more than 1500 Australian shoppers, conducted by WOM Network, revealed Covid-19 has fundamentally reshaped the way main grocery buyers shop.

Among the emerging themes the research found is an increase in time consciousness, decreasing price sensitivity and expanding focus on food and home cooking.

“Not only are we buying a higher proportion of food for meals – making more meals at home because we’re not eating out as often/at all – we’re also doing more non-meal related cooking activities, like baking,” says WOM Network Director Warwick Hills.

“We’ve also seen that main grocery buyers are doing more pantry stocking – stocking up on items that might have a longer shelf life, in case of further lockdowns, etc.”

Decreased price sensitivity has meant that many shoppers are trading up in their choices. Mr Hills says the survey shows growth in the average weekly household grocery spend, despite no rise in average household income.

“Because they’re not spending as much money in other elements of their family budget, they’re redeploying some of those funds to grocery and ‘treating’ themselves a little more than they have in the past,” he says.

“This might mean consideration of more premium brands or options they may not normally consider. This also coincides with an apparent slowing of private label growth – possibly explained by this ‘trading up’ behaviour.”

So, how can pantry brands get onto shopping lists?

Mr Hills says the top three sources of inspiration for the food categories are:

  • Price/discounting – 67% of surveyed shoppers say ‘what’s on special this week’ is likely to inspire their choices.
  • Online recipes – 65% say recipes they find online are a source of inspiration.
  • Ideas/recipes from family/friends – 46% say they’re inspired by someone they know.

Find out how pantry brands are staying front of mind in the September issue of Retail World.