Understanding the difference between promotion- and prevention-minded shoppers could help food marketers enhance their strategy across the entire path to purchase.

Wendy Wallner, senior client manager at Ipsos, discussed this subject in a session at the research firm’s virtual 2020 Food Industry Summit.

And she reported that two broad mindsets are at work when food consumers make decisions. One group is “prevention-minded”, preferring safety, security, and rigorous, pre-planned decisions. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How food marketers can turn desire into purchases.)

The second cohort is “promotion-minded” individuals that act on cravings and impulse, and are motivated by gains and rewards.

“It's a big group; it's typically half the population,” Wallner said of promotion-minded customers when looking at a cross-industry perspective.

For specific brands, she continued, “what's nice is you can actually measure the size, and the proportion of, promotion-minded [shoppers] among your customer base and your target to see how big a group that is.”

Where brands have a lot of promotion-minded buyers, “that represents a great opportunity to drive crave-ability and impulse,” explained Wallner.

Promotion-minded consumers are easier to lead from desire to the “stronger state” of craving - a need state that induces a chemical reaction in the brain, narrows choices and prompts a “sense of urgency” - with the right strategic cues.

A case in point could be selling hamburgers: “The way you want to attract this group is through benefit-focused messaging, particularly highlighting sensory benefits like ‘full of bacon’ and ‘extra cheesy,’” said Wallner.

Providing another example, she illustrated how a brand using dairy products could tap into a mindset based on cravings not a mindset pegged around longer-term considerations.

“Offer concrete benefits now, like ‘extra creamy’, versus abstract benefits that occur later, like ‘build strong bones,’” she advised.

When looking at a syndicated community of consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ipsos found the “prevention-minded” segment was “very pessimistic both about today and into the future.”

“Promotion-minded” shoppers were less anxious, happy about stores and restaurants reopening, and “looking for more to do”, indicating pent-up demand.

In discussing what the latter group wanted to hear from brands, Wallner noted, they “talked a lot about employee safety. So … this is not a group that's only focused on new experiences or indulgent, short-term benefits. They also want to hear about how we're keeping people safe.”

Sourced from WARC