Consumer trends take centre stage

Given the rapidly changing retail environment, market intelligence has perhaps never been so important, making the HDC’s recent consumer trends event in Peterborough highly relevant.

According to Neil Sanderson, operations director of bag salad specialist Florette, consumers only want to buy what they want, when they want it and at the right price. As such demand for small bags of salad is outstripping growth of large bags. By reducing bag weight from the ‘standard’ production led 200g, to 170g, Florette is successfully driving increased sales.  “The industry is fixated on price point, and not what the consumer wants,” warned Neil.

Chris Cowan at Kantar World Panel told delegates; “Shoppers are making the same number of trips in grocery, but the main shop trip size is getting a bit smaller, while the top up trip size is getting bigger.

Already accounting for 8.3% of the grocery market in 2014, if Aldi and Lidl continue to outperform the market their share could rise to 12 -13% by the end of 2019, although Chris said 20% was possible.

Worryingly, he said 28% of produce markets are in long term decline – with potatoes, applies and plums the major casualties.

Taking a broad look at the consumer landscape, Richard Nicholls of the Future Foundation, predicted a number of key trends for 2015 and beyond including continued consumer budgeting and focus on price, increasing interest in ‘war on waste’ and the growing popularity of food products that offer both convenience and the opportunity to cook from scratch.

For a fuller report, see the next issues of Vegetable Farmer, Fruit Grower and Commercial Greenhouse Grower.

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