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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mom the Decider… or Do Kids Really Rule in the Supermarket?

Each year Moms have a hand in spending nearly $200 billion on food purchased for use at home, so it’s not surprising that marketers and grocers have long targeted Moms and their families as a consumer group that is critical to their bottom line.  One traditional marketing strategy has been to appeal to kids directly on Saturday morning TV commercials with the hope that kids’ will unleash their vaunted “pester power” to influence what their Moms buy in the grocery store.

What goes on with Moms and their families in grocery stores, though, can be a lot more complicated.  For example, proprietary survey data cited in Packaged Facts Moms as Food Shoppers: Grocery Store and Supercenter Patterns and Trends show that a majority (56%) of Moms were alone and blissfully free from the demands of their kids as they made their way up and down the aisles of the grocery store on their most recent grocery shopping trip.

Still, Moms are not always in charge in the supermarket.  While 52% of Moms characterize themselves as the sole decision-maker about food purchases, a substantial segment of Moms share decisions in the grocery store with either a spouse or partner (22%) or with their children (10%).  As children grow up, changing family dynamics make a real difference in what goes on with Moms in grocery stores.

·         Moms and Dads are most likely to share in food-buying decisions when they have a child under the age of two, but the involvement of spouses or partners declines rapidly as kids get older.

·         As spouses recede from buying decisions in the grocery store, children step in.  Moms with children in the height of their tween years (10 to 11-years old) are most likely to report that food purchase decisions are made jointly with their children.

·         When their children enter their teens, Moms regain authority in the aisles of grocery stores, likely because teens have little interest in tagging along with Mom when she goes food shopping. 

Another noteworthy shift in buying patterns in the grocery store as kids get older has to do with Moms’ interest in organic food.  Around two in five (39%) Moms with kids under the age of two use organic foods.  However, when children start to walk and talk, their Moms’ focus on organic foods goes downhill.  The percent of Moms using organic foods declines to 33% among those with three- to five-year-olds, 29% of those with six- to 11-year-olds and 25% of those with 12- to 17-year-olds.

For information on Moms as Food Shoppers: Grocery Store and Supercenter Patterns and Trends, please visit:


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

For Buyers of Premium Pet Food, Made in the USA is A-OK

Critically acclaimed television show Modern Family, which airs on the ABC network, reveals that American families in the 21st Century are not only collages of cultures, lifestyle preferences, and generational gaps, but they are also often incomplete without their pets.  Modern Family’s French bulldog Stella is so popular that when news broke announcing that Brigitte, the canine thespian portraying Stella, would be replaced by a look-alike, irate commentary set the blogosphere ablaze.  Apparently Americans are as protective of the sanctity of their television families as they are of their real life households.

Over the past few years, humanization and pet parenting have become hallmarks of the pet industry. Not only do more Americans consider their pets to be full-fledged members of their families, but an increasing number are willing to spend money on premium products designed to safeguard the long-term health and comfort of their furry, feathered, and scaly companions. And so with pet food product recalls occurring on an alarmingly regular basis, pet owners and retailers are more curious than ever about where the ingredients in the foods they give their pets come from, and increasingly demanding products made with ingredients sourced as close to home as possible. As a result, “Made in the USA” themes have recently become commonplace in the world of superpremium pet food. Taking this approach to the limit, in fall 2009 Precise Pet Products ran a full-page trade ad in Pet Product News International headlined “We make our own food. Go figure.”—a claim referring to the fact that the company operates its own plants as opposed to relying on co-packers outside its immediate control. Additional copy is similarly to the point, stating that “These days, it’s hard to know exactly where the pet food you buy is actually made. Unless of course, it’s Precise. We make all of our premium, pet foods right here in America. Using only the finest all-natural ingredients.”

During 2011 and 2012, the “Made in the USA” trend continued. Now under the wing of Merrick, Castor & Pollux prominently displays a “Made in the USA” banner image on the home page of its website. A trade ad for Against the Grain, a new entrant to the pet market, flags that the company is family owned and that all of its products are U.S.-made. Also proudly “Made in the USA” is Herbsmith’s new Smiling Dog line of freeze-dried treats, whose advertising further specifies that the products are “produced in the great state of Wisconsin.”

Recalls also spurred interest in products made from ingredients that are locally grown, a trend that dovetails with such green initiatives as fostering smaller carbon footprints and reducing “food miles” (the distance a food must travel from point of origin to end user). Following the recalls, human-grade organic pet food producer Evanger’s trumpeted that it buys all of its ingredients locally, purchasing most of them within 40 miles of its plant. Similarly, Freshpet told the press that all of the ingredients in its refrigerated pet foods “are fresh, never frozen or preprocessed prior to cooking and all are locally sourced from the United States using stringent quality standards.”  On its website, Paw Naturaw makes a point that it is “a small family-owned and -operated company dedicated to producing safe, pure and healthy food for your fur-family member with the highest quality organic and free range meats sourced as locally as possible and always within the continental United States from documented family farms.”

In a similar vein, some marketers are prominently stating not just where their pet food ingredients come from, but where they don’t come from. In January 2009, Natura Pet Products announced that every ingredient used in its holistic formulas would be sourced from trusted non-Chinese suppliers, including supplements which had previously been available only from China. And in 2011, The Honest Kitchen continued the trend by implementing a system of vendor pledges including that ingredients not originate from China.

For more information on research from the Packaged Facts report, Natural, Organic, and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S., 4th Edition, please visit:

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Gluten-Free Market: “I’ll Have What She’s Having”

What does the consumer of gluten-free foods and beverages want?  Well, what does any grocery shopper want from foods and beverages?  Good taste, affordability, convenience, and nutritional value.  (Usually in that order.)

Product development in the gluten-free market initially focused on replicating the properties of foods that are traditionally wheat-based.  Then the emphasis shifted to the development of foods that people who live gluten-free actually want to eat.  Indeed, product quality has improved measurably in the past several years, as evidenced by Packaged Facts’ proprietary surveys.

Members of the gluten-free population demand the same respect and attention given to mainstream consumers in other ways, too:  foods and beverages that resemble their standard counterparts in terms of taste, texture, nutrition, range, variety, availability, convenience, novelty, packaging, shelf placement, and, ideally, price.  The word that comes up again and again to describe how gluten-free consumers want to be treated is “normal.”

Marketers have addressed these demands from the inside (ingredients) out (packaging).

To make up for the properties lost when gluten is eliminated from a recipe, gluten-free formulations have often included a half-dozen or more different kinds of starches as well as added fats, sugars, and salt.  Not exactly the top five ingredients advocated by Michael Pollan and his fellow foodies.  In addition, gluten-free diets are often lacking in dietary fiber and B vitamins, among other nutrients. 
Our new report on gluten-free foods and beverages charts an increase in new gluten-free products that contain ingredients to address such deficiencies.  In addition, convenience foods like snack bars and microwavable meals are proliferating, and recent product introductions include foods and beverages that cater to culinary adventurers and shoppers with sophisticated palates.  Finally, product packaging is being redesigned and updated so the gluten-free customer doesn’t feel “weird” at the checkout counter.

Gluten-free consumers routinely shop around until they find something they like.  When they do find something they like, these consumers are extremely brand loyal.  Not to say fanatic--get between a gluten-freer and her or his favorite Udi's product at extreme peril. And gluten-freers don’t hesitate to share their opinions and reviews with other gluten-freers, or with anyone, for that matter.  On blogs, for example.

For more information about our full report:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Premium Private Label Trumps Frugal Fatigue

A characteristic of past recessions has been “frugal fatigue.”  Shoppers get tired of living within their means and paying down debt and long to treat themselves to something expensive or at least frivolously indulgent.  Frugal fatigue is especially common among those who tended not to be particularly frugal prior to a recession. Long-term savers, who have made a lifestyle of frugality, have immunized themselves against the siren call of splurging.

According to a 2011 survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), 71% of respondents said they were “tired of pinching pennies."  However, simply wanting to take a vacation from a frugal lifestyle does not mean that shoppers will act on that impulse--particularly given the severity of the recent recession, where not simply creature comforts but jobs, homes, educational degrees, and retirement prospects have been on the line. Therefore, among respondents to the survey, only 7% said they were getting set to splurge even though their financial circumstances had not changed. The vast majority, 93%, reported that they would continue to be frugal.

In the grocery aisles, the premium quality and progressiveness of the current generation of private-label products has been a boon to shoppers who are maintaining a more frugal lifestyle, whether as a long-term philosophy, a sensible adjustment to the economic downturn, or a remedial treatment for previous excess.   Brand lines such as Costco's Kirkland Signature, the private-label based Trader Joe's, Target's Archer Farms, Wegmans store brand products, and Whole Foods 365 rank among the red badges of savvy shopping.


A Packaged Facts Food Shopper Insights Survey reported in our recent study on private label foods and beverages  found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of shoppers believe that private label food and beverage products are usually as high quality as name brands, and more than half (53%) believe that private label products are often a better value than national name brands.

The contemporary premium private label product is often priced only slightly below that of the national brand, reinforcing the sense of equity between the two.  However, the private label brand is then offered at a promotional discount price, often available only to loyalty cardholders. In this way the private label products satisfy the need for saving without making shoppers feel that they are sacrificing quality.  Thus is frugal fatigue defeated!

The successful interplay of shopper needs and perceptions and marketer efforts to develop and promote quality store brand products can be seen in the financial results of grocery retailers. The Kroger chain of supermarkets, for example, reported for 2011 that its private label products represent over a25% of its sales dollars and 35% of units sold. The overall growth rate for private label products at Kroger is greater than that for national brands. Several other grocery marketers indicate that they are targeting their private label products to account for a third of total sales in the next few years.

All this makes it easier for shoppers to keep on keeping on with their careful spending, with lower risk of frugal fatigue.   Moreover, the ever-evolving private label product lineups help support the 21% of the NFCC survey respondents who said they have “made lifestyle changes, but they are positive and I intend to keep them.”  For smart shoppers committed to careful spending as the “new normal,” premium private label products can wield a lot of brand appeal.

For more information on our full report:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Breakfast With a Health Halo: How Vegetables Are Invading the Most Important Meal of the Day

Breakfast just got a whole lot healthier. While the starchy, sugar-loaded and syrup-drenched foods long associated with breakfast endure, they do so alongside an ever-broadening assortment of nutrition-centric creations. These menu items are all about delivering a potent punch of essential goodness in the form of vegetables and legumes that were once regulated primarily to the domain of later mealtimes. There’s hash featuring yams and zucchini, steamed veggies hugging eggs or tofu in whole wheat tortillas, and—perhaps the most extreme example of this shift toward a newer, healthier early morning meal—breakfast salads that combine a few familiar breakfast staples with an assortment of fruits and vegetables.

We should have seen this coming right? In some countries outside the U.S., vegetables with breakfast aren’t that unusual. After all, a proper Full English breakfast would be deemed lacking without cooked tomatoes, beans, and mushrooms. Even in America, vegetables at breakfast aren’t completely unheard of. At the very least, they make a semi-acceptable appearance as brunch items including asparagus with poached egg and hollandaise sauce and omelets with colorful jumbles of onions and peppers. Plus, one can’t forget our long history of drinking vegetables in the form of canned tomato and V-8 juice in the morning, or even the popular trend of consuming veggie-laden smoothies.

But according to The New Healthful, a report by Packaged Facts and San Francisco-based strategic food and beverage agency CCD Innovation, this emerging trend is different. This new healthful breakfast inspiration focused on vegetables is in ample supply and seemingly more and more in demand. Diners realize that sugary, starchy breakfasts won’t get them very far and are seeking innovative, more filling options that really give them something to chew on. Vegetables and legumes in the morning make particular sense for those going meatless or skipping meat and animal products altogether as they can fill out a sandwich, bowl, or plate in more nutritious ways. Beans are doubly interesting as a breakfast ingredient because they supply fiber in addition to protein.

The opportunities for restaurateurs to capitalize on this demand for veggies and legumes at breakfast are immense.

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Frozen at the peak of freshness" cuts both ways

According to our August 2012 national online survey, preference for fresh foods is the top reason (57%) surveyed consumers cite for not buying frozen foods in the last three months, followed by a preference for home-cooked foods (35%). Fewer than one in five shoppers say they have not bought frozen foods because they don’t like the taste, don’t have enough freezer space at home, are not confident in frozen foods’ nutrition, or are not confident in frozen foods’ quality (a concern that is, nonetheless, notably more prevalent among women).

Although “fresh” would seem to be an oxymoron in frozen foods, frozen food marketers are increasingly promoting their foods by squaring off against fresh foods head on. The goal is to convince consumers that they do not have to sacrifice taste, quality, or nutrition by taking advantage of the convenience of frozen foods.  One direct example of this effort to move the needle on consumer attitudes is in the name of one of the top regional frozen vegetable marketers, Fresh Frozen Foods. The company’s website ( emphasizes that “Studies consistently reveal that frozen produce is as nutritious, and in some cases even more nutritious, than fresh produce.”  It references the FDA’s conclusion that the nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables is the same or better than that of their raw counterparts, and the University of Illinois research study by Dr. Barbara Klein, a professor of food and nutrition, which found that frozen vegetables can have equal, or higher, nutritional value when compared to fresh vegetables.

Likewise, Pinnacle Foods has worked “fresh” into the Birds Eye product line, with its Birds Eye Steamfresh line of steamable vegetables and side dishes. And when ConAgra debuted its line of Healthy Choice Steaming Entrees, it promoted the launch with the tag line, “Healthy Choice has nothing to hide with its new line of fresh-tasting frozen entrees.”  The entrees boast a clear plastic tray that enables consumers to see the ingredients and “the vivid colors of the vegetables, which are frozen at the peak of freshness.” 
Asserting frozen’s claim to the merits of freshness is part of a larger tug-of-war within grocery stores, where the traditional center store of shelf-stable and frozen foods must step up its game to compete against the refrigerated and bakery/deli/prepared food offerings that lure shoppers along the store perimeter, including hot foods bars and well as chilled ready meals.   At the same time that frozen competes with fresh whole foods on convenience, it must compete with in-store fast food on quality and wholesomeness.  Fortunately for the frozen food aisles, “frozen at the peak of freshness" cuts both ways.

For more information on our full report:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Move Over, Multivitamins: A Focus on Function

When you think of nutritional supplements, “multivitamin” may first come to mind. Although multi-vitamin/mineral/supplement pills that cover various nutritional sins remain the most commonly used type of product, the nutritional supplement market has broadened its horizons and raised its sights. Today, information-driven consumers often know specifically what they want, and that means a focus on function.

Just as in the functional foods market, consumers are seeking supplements that help address specific health conditions and concerns. In fact, many have turned to ingredients that at times sound like pantry items: turmeric and cinnamon, for example, are two of the hot ingredients in the supplement market. Others are not as appetizing (probiotic bacteria, anyone?) but remain desirable nonetheless for specific digestive maintenance properties.
Consumers are also looking for supplements that keep their promises. Efficacy and credibility have never been more important than in the age of Google searches, media broadsides against dodgy products and deceptive active ingredient claims, and the product pans of consumers who are both disappointed and angry. Supplement developers are increasingly relying on scientific evidence supporting the benefits of specific nutritional ingredients to bolster the industry’s image in the eyes of consumers and the healthcare practitioners who advise them.

The most successful supplement marketers will be those who feature products with supportable claims, including those targeting specific concerns such as joint, brain, and heart health. While the outdatedly named "multivitamins" will remain industry workhorses, function-focused new products featuring marquee ingredients will be the thoroughbreds that drive industry growth.

Supplement marketers must keep their sights squarely focused on target marketing, including those age 65+ and the do-it-yourself-healthcare prone Baby Boomers who have begun swelling the senior ranks. Targeting younger adults whose supplements usage rates have been falling is also critical to the market’s longer-term future, as is reaching the emergent Hispanic population, whose supplement usage rates are below average.

During 2012, supplement sales rose 7% to $11.5 billion, according to Packaged Facts estimates presented in our recent report on Nutritional Supplements in the U.S. Given the decay of all flesh in an aging society and the reassurance of solid scientific support, we forecast the market to reach $15.5 billion by 2017.

For more information on our full report:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pizza Industry Doesn't Have to Throw Health Under the Bus

When it comes to eating more healthfully, it's long been obvious that while consumers may talk the talk, they may not walk the walk. But the needle has nevertheless shifted: the health trend is real. Is it leaving pizza behind? The survey say “yes.”

Proprietary survey results analyzed in our Pizza Market in the U.S.: Foodservice and Retail report indicate a clear food consumption trend toward healthier options and home-based cost savings, at the expense of pizza.  With respect to the 17 foods and food types we asked about, consumers are most likely to be “eating more” of those with stronger general health attributes and with home-based cost savings. Unfortunately for pizza purveyors, consumers are less likely to be eating more pizza, whether its restaurant pizza, frozen pizza, or fresh/refrigerated pizza.

Sales trends are correspondingly lukewarm. We forecast U.S. pizza restaurant 2011-2014 compound annual growth of 3.3%, lagging projected restaurant industry growth. Pizza is also loosening its hold on the restaurant menu, with menu penetration falling by 4% from 2008 to 2012. We also forecast U.S. frozen and refrigerated retail pizza 2011-2014 compound annual growth of -0.1%, lagging projected retail food sales growth (estimates are unadjusted for inflation).

Of course, nobody is counting pizza out--you can't swing a pepperoni stick without hitting a pizza lover.  With usage penetration at restaurants and retail alike well above 90%, pizza remains an American staple. But after riding the recession-driven value wave, pizza is losing steam.
Even so, menu trends reveal a wealth of cuisine-driven growth opportunity, from pushing more mileage out of fusion cuisine to sauce experimentation to leveraging a wider variety of niche cheeses. Each of these approaches increases taste variety, opening up sales opportunity.
But health must play a more central role. While health claims are often woven into menus, pizza is simply not in step with the health-driven terminology: only 2.3% of restaurants serving pizza as an entrée associate pizza with “gluten free” on the menu; “low fat” and “organic” are associated with only 1.9% and 1.1%.   Restaurant operators surely can experiment more with healthful claims that resonate with pizza eaters.
And the industry already has vegetables in its corner. A slew of vegetable toppings are available at restaurants serving pizza entrées, ranging from the more ubiquitous olives (at 69%) to broccoli (30%) and arugula (10%), demonstrating strong mainstream and niche appeal. As an inherently healthy food, vegetables provide an ideal vehicle for purveyors to ratchet up pizza’s health profile without having to aggressively sell on nutritional merits to consumers, who already order pizzas with vegetables in abundance.
The bottom line is that the pizza industry doesn't have to throw health under the bus, especially if it wants to grow sales: Some 4 in 10 consumers say healthier pizza options would entice them to eat pizza more often.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Green Cleaners: Not Mopping Up, But Outperforming in Growth

 "Green"  (eco-friendly) cleaners, once used primarily by hard-core green consumers, have expanded their appeal to mainstream consumers who typically use non-green cleaners.   Initiatives over the last five years by both marketers and retailers served to broaden the base of green cleaners.   Mass retailers including supermarkets and general merchandisers such as Walmart and Target significantly expanded their selection of green cleaning products in response to consumer demand.   Sales grew rapidly in these channels, such that they displaced health and natural product stores as the leading venue for green cleaning product sales.   To a degree, a sort of caste system developed:  mass marketers such as Clorox, Dial, and Church & Dwight entered the green market with a flurry of new products that competed at lower price points against venerable green leaders such as Seventh Generation with natural products channel cred.   Increased competition grew the overall market, and reinvigorated new product and marketing activities of green marketers. 

Consumers do say they want green cleaning products.   In an online Packaged Facts consumer survey conducted in August 2012, 41% of respondents indicated that they had purchased or used natural, organic, or eco-friendly household cleaning/laundry products within the previous 12 months, up from 38% in February 2009.    Nonetheless, many consumers find green cleaners too expensive and question whether they work as well as traditional products.   Price has become ever more important during difficult economic times.  It’s a challenge marketers must face in the coming years.  What’s the value of green cleaners to mainstream consumers?   Hard-core green consumers are already sold, and have their trusted brands.   Yet they are a relatively small niche.   Mainstream consumers must be convinced, or continue being convinced, that a green cleaning product, whether from a mass marketer or an "alternative" green marketer, is a good value and the right solution.

In the long-term, green cleaning products are poised to continue outperforming conventional cleaners in sales growth, given the slowly but steadily coming-to-a-boil consumer interest in sustainability,  loyal usage by core and converted consumers, and higher price points.  Growth will accelerate if and when economic conditions improve.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Latinos and Prepaid Cards: It's About Overbanking, Not Underbanking

Prepaid debit cards are growing in popularity among Latino Consumers.  Packaged Facts' new report Consumer Payments in the U.S.:  The Latino Market reveals that between 2011 and 2012 the number of Latinos using prepaid cards increased by 7.2%.  At the same time, the total number of consumers using prepaid cards grew by only 1%, and use of prepaid cards by non-Latinos declined by 0.5%.  Thus, Latinos drove the growth in prepaid card use during this period.

It might be expected that the popularity of prepaid cards among Latinos would be due to the higher propensity of Latinos to use cash, and relatedly to their lower propensity have checking accounts.  The results of a survey of Latino prepaid card users published in 2011 by Washington, D.C.-based National Council of La Raza (NCLA) provide some support for this view.  The NCLA study found that 26% of Latinos obtaining a prepaid card did so because “it was cheaper than going to a check casher.” Nearly half (48%) said that what they liked most about prepaid cards is that “I didn’t have to carry cash.”

However, NCLA found that the top benefit of prepaid cards as reported by Latino users relates to a desire to manage spending rather than a desire to find a replacement for cash.  More than 60% of those participating in the study liked using prepaid cards because “I could only spend the amount of money that I had.”  The fact that using a prepaid card “was convenient/saved time” was a benefit noted by 42% of respondents.

As our Consumer Payments in the U.S.:  The Latino Market report notes, 20% of Latinos with checking accounts used a prepaid card in the last 12 months, compared to only 14% of Latinos without checking accounts.  Therefore, Latino use of prepaid cards seems to be less about being underbanked and not having checking accounts and more about avoiding being overbanked and falling prey to credit card debt.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Meals at Home Gain Renewed Importance for American Families Post-Recession

The recession ruined everything…or so it seemed.  Businesses crumbled. Unemployment soared. The housing market crashed.  And now on the precipice of another presidential election, the recession’s impact to many lingers as a blemish on the résumé of the incumbent and a formidable—and perhaps persistent—challenge for the eventual winner.

Even the food and beverage industry wasn’t immune to this economic scourge, as consumers sought less costly alternatives to the products and brands they loyally purchased in better times.  Restaurant foot traffic declined.  Fast food dollar menus got more creative.  While various incarnations of 2 for $20 meal deals appeared in seemingly every casual dining restaurant chain nationwide. 

Nevertheless there has been some (literal) feasting amid the famine.  Less money to spend dining outside the home, has meant more dining inside the home.  The result is the triumphant return of the home cooked meal punctuated by honest-to-goodness nutritious foods and family bonding time.  While the lack of money to dine out has impacted Millennials harder than any other group of U.S. consumers, it is Gen Xer parents who apparently have found the most cause to parlay what some would consider a pseudo mealtime travesty into an opportunity to nurture and feel closer to their children.

According to Packaged Facts’ recently released report, How We Eat: Retail and Foodservice Opportunities in When and Where America Eats, there exists a correlation between a healthy, happy family and home cooked meals.  Eating meals at home together is said to improve a family’s health and well-being, reduce the risk of youth substance abuse, and prevent chronic disease.  Parents have found security in the knowledge that eating regular family meals at home means their children are likely to eat more healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and consume higher amounts of important nutrients (calcium, fiber, and iron)—while conversely consuming less fat and avoiding unhealthy snacks.   Additionally, mealtime togetherness contributes more strongly to the well-being of children than other common family activities or recreational activities performed outside the home such as sports, dance, arts, clubs, etc.

As the 2012 electoral dust inevitably settles and America drifts further away from the worst of the recession and acquiesces to the new economic normal, it will be interesting to see how both consumers and food industry players respond.  People will continue to find ways to indulge their whims to dine outside the home, but one can’t help but believe that the forced/necessary resurgence of the home cooked meal has reawakened something enduring.  Now that we have seen firsthand how much happier and healthier our children are nestled in the sanctity of our domestic kitchens and dining tables, how can we ever fully go back to the way it was pre-recession?

Still the reality is people aren’t getting any less busy.  Parents don’t have and won’t always have time to cook from scratch as much as they might like to.  By providing healthier, fresher ready meals and better quality frozen foods, industry players will continue to help Americans find opportunities to juggle their responsibilities professionally, socially, and domestically.

For food retail manufacturers, Hispanic households will be a key entry point for sustained sales and growth. Hispanics have tremendous buying power and traditionally place importance on home and family.  According to the report, Hispanics are responsible for 13% of aggregate food expenditures.  During the peak period of the recession between 2007-2010, Hispanic share of food-at-home expenditures increased by 22%, out pacing figures for non-Hispanics.  There’s no reason to believe this upward trend won’t continue.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cheek to Jowl with Pets

U.S. retail sales of pet supplies totaled $11.1 billion in 2011, up 2.0% over 2010.  From a high of 5% in 2007, annual sales gains slowed year to year during the economic recession of 2008-2009 and its aftermath.
Nonetheless, a number of market factors point to a return to healthier growth.  These include the industry’s success in playing up the human-animal bond to drive higher-ticket, sales of premium products, the strong market presence of upper-income households willing and able to spend heavily on pet supplies, and the growing population of pets with specialized health needs, especially senior and overweight dogs and cats.  Another good sign is the ongoing expansion of the pet specialty channel, which indicates increasing interest in all things pet, including at the ever-important superpremium end of the spending spectru
Many of the trendsetting items entering the pet supplies product stream are markedly parallel with human goods, appealing to pet owner as much as pet.  With more Americans treating their pets like members of the family, there’s no question that consumers are receptive to pet products that are “human-style,” whether by virtue of their brand names, benefits claims, or packaging presentations. 

In this vein, pet owners show a high degree of interest in human cross-over brands, which can bring instant confidence and familiarity into pet categories in which there is relatively little pet brand equity, including pet beds (Simmons Beautyrest, Orvis), cleaning products (Arm & Hammer, Bionaire, Febreze), grooming products (Conair, Wahl), supplements (GNC, Standard Process, Bach), travel/containment products (Jeep, Coleman), and apparel (Burberry, L.L. Bean).  A concomitant trend is the increased market involvement of makers of human products, a trend Packaged Facts expects to continue to gain momentum in the years ahead—with brands including Bissell, Conair, Febreze (Procter & Gamble), and Wahl making strong showings at the 2012 Global Pet Expo.
The humanization trend is always apparent in the new products featured at the Global Pet Expo. But particularly evident this year were human-style items that looked exactly like products for toddlers, from car seats and strollers, to safety gates and “cribs,” to rubber and plastic toys, with examples including Pet Gear strollers, Carlson pet containment devices, and Simply Fido pet toys.  Such products give pet owners plenty of human-style design options in the products they choose to integrate into their lifestyles and home décor—or rather, these human-style options make sense because pets are so thoroughly integrated into our lives and our homes.

And what are lifestyles without some celebrity cachet?  The pet market continues to register increased celebrity involvement, with names such as Martha Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres now cheek-to-jowl with brands such as Purina or Petmate.   Will it be long before Olympic champions vie to get their face on a box of Milk-Bone Trail Mix?