Chicken producers have the wind at their backs as grain prices fall and red meat prices remain high, but it is no time to get lazy in marketing. Chicken companies need to adapt to be relevant with consumers, Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, told listeners at the Chicken Marketing Seminar July 21.
People shopped around during the recession, Lempert said, and changed their food buying behavior. Those who spent the most became loyal to different products and store formats. In the process, value replaced price as the driver in purchase behavior.
Speaking at the conference sponsored by the National Chicken Council and National Poultry and Food Distributors Association, Lempert shared 10 trends shaping a post-recession food marketplace which is in flux.
Trend 1: Emergence of the IndieWoman
Don’t ignore the 31 million, 27-plus-year-old single women, who live alone, and spend $50 billion a year on food and beverages, Lempert told the chicken marketers.
Trend 2: Healthy snacking
As snacking increases, so does overall quality of snack and meal occasions, Lempert said. It’s a big opportunity for chicken.
Trend 3: Cause marketing builds brands
Shoppers want to support brands and retailers who support their own community through hunger relief, disaster relief, veterans, education and animal welfare.
Trend 4: Mobile devices have big role
One-third of shoppers report using their mobile devices while shopping to find recipes, compare store prices and look up information on the foods they purchase.
Trend 5: Community culinary centers
Consumers want to learn cooking skills. Forming a connected food culture by mentoring, not by teaching, is an opportunity and trend.
Trend 6: Breakfast is important again
Consumers are striving to live a healthful lifestyle, and breakfast food with good value is a part of that lifestyle.
Trend 7: Packaging is evolving
Packaging is becoming more interactive with touch-sensitive areas that project additional information on sourcing, recipes and carbon footprint as consumer choices continue to demand more information.
Trend 8: Millennials and their passion for food
Millennials have a passion for food, Lempert said, and marketers need to find ways to be relevant to those who participate in food raves, buy from food trucks, and have, in many cases, low-paying jobs.
Trend 9: International flavors on the rise
Latino and Asian are the fastest growing populations in the U.S., and school nutrition programs that include international cuisine are fueling their popularity. These flavors are finding their way into foods eaten at home.
Trend 10: Private brands take the lead
Private brands are leading product innovation, according to the Supermarket Guru consumer-panel survey, and 39 percent of consumers are buying more store brands.
It’s no easy task, Lempert said, as he challenged chicken marketers to innovate, focus on relationships and think beyond loyalty to advocacy.
Consumers want more information about the foods they eat, including chicken, he said. What’s more, consumers are bored, and chicken producers need to be creative in catering to their needs by celebrating food, preparation and taste.