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IDDBA Trend Takeaways—Retailer Branding Through Value

July 30, 2014
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After the dust settled from the annual International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) show, out in Denver this year, I caught up with Alan Hiebert, senior education coordinator for IDDBA, to gain his impression of emerging trends spotted at the event:

 

With so many new products, tried-and-true products, and so many old friends to see at IDDBA’s Dairy-Deli-Bake Seminar & Expo, it can be difficult to find the trends. Indeed, a single booth can have decadent desserts and low-sodium, gluten-free snacks. But that really is the trend these days. For years, industry observers have noted that people may be saying one thing but doing another. Consumers may say that they watch their salt intake, count their calories, and get enough exercise. Government data on sugar and salt intake, along with weight data tells us that most consumers aren’t. New IDDBA research due to be published later this summer indicates that a single consumer may be interested in healthy eating at one meal, but may be interested in an indulgent snack later that same day. Consumers seem to be more interested in healthful eating early in the day. For snacking toward the end of the day, it’s more about taste.

We’re also seeing a willingness to leave a primary store to purchase perimeter department products, particularly in younger shoppers. Overall, the most-often cited reason for purchasing perishable products at another store was value—though that doesn’t always mean the lowest price. Both Boomers and Millennials tend to look at value as the best set of attributes for their budget. Only slightly behind value was variety and selection. Especially when deli department selection is limited, shoppers are willing to leave the store where they buy most of their groceries. In some deli sliced meat areas, we are seeing a trend toward a single brand dominating selection, which might be a turnoff for some shoppers. In the bakery, variety and selection was cited by IDDBA survey respondents as the top attribute stores needed to improve.

For several years now, IDDBA has suggested that consumers are demanding more information from food manufacturers and food retailers. We’re seeing the trend continuing. Shoppers want ideas on how to eat healthier, on new recipe ideas, and on how to get the most for their money. It’s not just enough to set up a single store Facebook page or Twitter account, however. Shoppers want to hear from a store nutritionist for health information, from the store’s chef for recipe ideas, and from the store director about value. Similarly, it’s not enough to let the retailer do all of the communicating. We’ve found that Millennials are somewhat more eager to engage with the store digitally or in person, but Boomers are more interested in getting their information through package labels.

 

An interesting takeaway from this relayed wisdom from Alan is that “the most-often cited reason for purchasing perishable products at another store was value” and that “Boomers and Millennials tend to look at value as the best set of attributes for their budget.” But he notes that value doesn’t necessarily perfectly equate with lowest price. Value can come in many forms, including easily divisible portion sizes and other convenience factors. It can also mean, in terms of private label, a national-brand-better product that does something other products can’t, such as a unique product type, flavor, functionality, ingredient combination, etc. It can be an astute combination of health-and-wellness that allows shoppers to build more preventative medicine into their diet, satisfying a nutritional need while still delivering top-tier flavor and perhaps a bit of indulgence.

Of course, retailers never want their shoppers to seek out such items from another store, so building these value-driven attributes into store brand lines, boosting the variety and selection of the set, can do much to build shopper loyalty and repeat purchase. Simultaneously building store brand exposure into other value-added aspects of the retailer, like nutritional advice from a staff registered dietician, catering and take-out offerings, recipes, etc., can nicely round-out a store brand’s presence.

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