Consumer priorities in the grocery category are changing to reflect new realities as the financial implications of pandemic and recession begin to hit; understanding “macro shopper mindsets” can help marketers plan for an uncertain future.

ZEAL Creative proposes four grocery shopper mindsets which the marketing agency believes provide a broad approach that allows planning for likely scenarios and against which marketers can refine and size up based on their own shopper data, commercial objectives and marketing campaigns.

Understanding the new consumer mindsets 

Writing for WARC, Head of Planning Callum Saunders outlines these as: Inspire Me, Offer Support, Make It Special and Help Me Cope. All four have been modelled against the probable realities of the immediate future.

“These mindsets are challenging to segment or size based on any quantitative data,” he acknowledges, “given the ever-shifting nature of macro and micro factors and the fact that these segments will vary category to category and brand to brand.”

But they do provide a basis from which brand and shopper teams can begin to shape future activation plans, he maintains. (For more details, read Callum Saunders’ article in full: Four food-shopper mindsets that should shape brand planning in 2021.)

In the worst-case scenario, where shoppers are experiencing financial challenges and are also being placed back into lockdown or under restrictions, financial value – affordable products and pricing – and added value will be critical.

“On-pack promotions and value with purchase will help,” Saunders notes. “However, for these shoppers, added financial pressure means that moments of permissible pleasure take on an even greater significance.

“Products in categories such as confectionery and ice cream can help to provide micro moments of permissible pleasure, enjoyment and escape. Health and beauty brands have the opportunity to shift their positioning from ‘functional everyday’ to everyday moments of indulgence and enjoyment.”

Food safety - and trust - may be an issue

Supermarkets, meanwhile, may find themselves having to balance competing demands around value and safety when and if the UK’s post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU and much of the rest of the world is finally established.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), a levy-paid board working on behalf of farmers and processors, has detected a shift in consumers’ food concerns, away from environmental issues towards safety and particularly, given media stories about ‘chlorinated chicken’, the safety of food imports.

Its research shows that, after farmers, supermarkets are most trusted on food chain issues, and this is likely to grow as the big chains have made clear their opposition to poor quality meat imports on their shelves.

Take this in tandem with the high levels of public approval supermarkets have gained for their response to the pandemic and there are “opportunities for influencing consumer behaviours and becoming guardians of trust in the food chain”, according to ADHB consumer insight manager Susie Stannard. (For more, read WARC’s report: Supermarkets can build on their COVID-19 legacy.)

Sourced from WARC