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Shoppers hunt for food deals online, Deloitte survey finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Shoppers with an appetite for deals on food purchases are turning to online tools for help, a new Deloitte consumer survey found.

Deloitte’s 2010 consumer food safety survey found that one-third of the 1,102 respondents polled subscribe to receive e-mails, recipes and coupons directly from food manufacturers, up six percentage points from two years ago. A total of 23% of consumers visit a food company’s Web site to learn more about their products and will make a food purchase as a result.

Additionally, shoppers tend to become more bargain-hungry and will seek to compare prices, especially if they use a mobile device while shopping or when making shopping decisions, Deloitte noted, adding that men were more aggressive when it came to bargain hunting than women.

“Today’s consumers are using the Internet to not just find nutritional and safety information about the foods they eat, but to find the best value for their dollar,” said Pat Conroy, Deloitte’s vice chairman and consumer products practice leader in the United States. “If this recession has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t necessarily have to sacrifice quality for value — and consumers have figured that out by uncovering the wealth of product promotions and other marketing messages available on the Internet.”

In line with the results, Deloitte also noted that 52% of Americans surveyed preferred to purchase store brands when shopping for packaged or bottled food items. The result is in line with a Nielsen reported released last week that underscored the relationship of private-brand sales’ value and consumers.

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Private-label sales spell success for stores, customers

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Customers seeking a good deal in a weak economy are looking no further than private-label brands, according to a recent report by Nielsen.

In his report “Store Brands Flex Muscle in Weak Economy,” Nielsen’s SVP consumer and shopper insights Todd Hale said U.S. store brands have garnered more sales, including a 17.3% of share dollars, in addition to 21.9% share of units by March 2010 — up 2.1 and 1.9 points, respectively, since 2007.

Additionally, the customer profiles driving such sales are not who you think. Hale said both young women and middle-class families represent those customers seeking more bang for their buck. And with tiered offerings, including organic and one-of-a-kind items, store-brand purchases may soon become the norm across all customer profiles.

Hale added that store brands demonstrated its power by capturing a 20 unit share or higher in 48-of-the-117 categories analyzed by Nielsen. Last year, Nielsen found that private-label brand sales grew by 7.4% to $85.9 billion within food, drug and mass-merchandisers (including Walmart), with shares recorded at 16.9%.

“In most countries, the concentration of a few dominant retailers correlates well with higher store-brand share, but there are exceptions,” Hale wrote. “This is also true in the U.S. where higher store brand shares in markets are served by a few dominant retailers. With the likelihood of continued consolidation of U.S. retailing in the years to come, expect to see continued growth in store brand shares.”

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Odwalla expands protein beverage line

BY Allison Cerra

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. Natural health beverage company Odwalla has added a new flavor to its Protein Monster drink line.

The newest addition to the Protein Monster line blends strawberries and soy and dairy protein. Odwalla Strawberry Protein Monster packs 25 grams of protein in every bottle.

“We know that the active people who love Odwalla are looking for an on-the-go protein smoothie that doesn’t compromise on taste,” said Jason Dolenga, brand manager, for Odwalla. “By combining 25 grams of protein with creamy deliciousness in every bottle, new Strawberry Protein Monster continues the Odwalla tradition of mixing great nutrition and extraordinary flavor.”

Odwalla Strawberry Protein Monster is available in 450 mL (15.2 fl. oz.) recyclable plastic bottles and can be found in natural food stores, select supermarkets and specialty outlets.

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