The way we shop has changed – more frequent than it used to be, using a greater mix and variety of outlets (and, of course, online too), but also, increasingly, with a different mindset.
We are becoming ever more mindful about how we shop – still searching for convenience, quality and value, but adding more considerations now to meet our evolving dietary needs and wants, our desire to explore new ideas, and to do our bit to protect the planet and our own future.
This emerging ‘Mindful Shopper’ dynamic will open up new opportunities and new demands for brand owners and manufacturers. Here are our thoughts on the likely impact of this evolving trend:
- More promiscuous shopping – the monotonous weekly or fortnightly semi-automatic trawl around a single supermarket is, in many cases, being replaced by a series of more purposeful shopping trips. The ‘big shop’ still has a role to play for staples and bulky household items (although online shopping is steadily intruding into this territory), but the desire for value and choice will lead to more shopping around, across more stores
- So, being able to choose exactly what we want is ever more important – and to meet the needs of everyone in a particular sector requires massive ranging (think about how the tea fixture has expanded in the past decade). But it also means that stores that specialise in one particular area, and offer expertise and specialist items may be better placed to provide what increasingly demanding consumers want more effectively than a generalist supermarket can do
- Buying ‘for now’ – we are increasingly tuned to expect to be able to make immediate choices about everything in our lives, and buying food and drink is no different. More spontaneity will contribute to the more frequent shopping outlined above, as it requires us to be able to find exactly what we fancy close to hand and conveniently presented. Meal kits, recipe ingredient combinations stocked and promoted together on shelf and, of course, prepared ‘fresh’ meals and takeaways all stand to benefit
- The previous factors indicate the possibility of a revival of the high street. ‘Express’ store formats will continue to flourish, meeting our growing propensity to shop near to home or in transit, and to buy for today. But the success of Greggs shows the potential for newer iterations of traditional high street food shops – not, in all probability a return to the ‘butcher, baker and candlestick-maker’, but certainly the potential for food stores with a clear purpose to flourish. Stores that combine multiple functions (the post office that is also a café and homewares store, for example) to meet local community needs are also emerging, and more complimentary partnerships in the mould of Waterstones and Costa could develop too
- Increasingly inquisitive shoppers who will interrogate and look beyond glossy pack labels to meet their growing demands for fully virtuous products – ‘lower’ sugar, fat or salt claims and comforting imagery that suggests ‘hand-made’ preparation will need to be able to withstand the rigour of a more informed (and cynical) buying public
- And, of course, packaging that will have less of an impact on the planet. Eliminating single-use plastic now appears to be the will of retailers, governments and society, with a clear desire for more circulatory usage – whether this is achieved through deposit-return schemes, more uniformity and sophistication in local authority recycling practices, or breakthrough innovation in a replacement material for polyethylene and polypropylene. Much of this plastic use in food packaging has been for barrier protection to extend shelf-life, but more frequent shopping and more immediate use of foodstuffs will, in itself, help to reduce the need for plastic wrapping.
‘Mindful Shopping’ is a behaviour that is still building and evolving, so exactly how it will impact is clearly a matter for conjecture. However, that’s what makes it interesting and exciting, and provides opportunities for food brands, manufacturers, and retailers to explore ways in which they can benefit from this important trend.
If you’d like to find out more about how your brand or sector might be impacted by the rise of the ‘Mindful Shopper’ please contact The Brand Nursery. We have a tailored half-day workshop that we can run with your team to explore the potential impact on your products, packaging, and retail distribution. We are also planning a series of qualitative research forum studies that you can participate in to better understand the ‘Mindful Shopper’ attitudes, behaviours, and perspective on your marketplace.
Call 0113 234 6220 and ask to speak to Chris Blythe to find out more…
Chris Blythe, The Brand Nursery – October 2019