Marketing to the New Food Consumer


New trends mean you need new strategies 

What’s new in grocery shopping? What’s new in how people find and consume food? Last year Bloomberg reported that Americans are now spending more on dining out than on groceries. In fact, according to the US Department of Commerce, sales in restaurants are now exceeding sales in grocery stores for the first time since this kind of data started to be collected in 1992.

Dining Costs

Source: Bloomberg Markets

Millennials seem to be leading this shift. 29% of this grab-and-go generation report that they often purchase food and drink while on the run, compared with 19% of consumers overall. While you might think Millennials are running to fancy fast-casual destinations like Panera or Chipotle, the leading category for on the go eating may surprise you; it’s the convenience store.

In this part of the country, we have access to two of the most progressive convenience chains in the country – Wawa and Sheetz. These two chains are leading the industry in progressive menu development, healthy offerings, affordable made-to-order foods and enjoyable eat-in dining areas. Both offer a variety of healthy grab-and-go options that include low-fat yogurt, cheese and fruit, hummus and pitas and even quinoa salad. No wonder they’ve made such an impact on the eating habits of young and old alike.

If you want to attract more food shoppers to your restaurant, grocery store, market or convenience store, here are a few tips to make you more attractive to this time-pressed, grab-and-go generation.

GIVE THEM A REASON TO WALK IN THE DOOR

Why should consumers come to your store over others? Do you have better produce? Bulk bargains? More organic? Whatever your specialty is, promote it over and over again. Offer coupons that highlight the things that make you special. Announce arrivals of limited-time offerings like Rainer cherries or the first local pumpkins. While coupons and flyers are important, make sure you save room to give attention to the things that make you really special.

MAKE MINE TO GO

While many food marketers have caught on to the need for ready-to-eat options, fewer understand that to get more of the grab-and-go market, food must be packaged and presented differently. Are your foods easy to eat in a car? On a park bench? At an office desk? Is it neat to eat? Easy to clean up? Will it leave a smell? Think through all the types of considerations the folks at Wawa and Sheetz are using when they decide which items to promote.

BUILD BRAND AWARENESS

No matter who you are, or how long you’ve been in the area, you’ll need to continually promote your name and location(s). If you don’t, other names and stores will replace yours in your customers’ minds. Pay attention to signage. Advertise a lot. Get your name, brand and logo out there in as many ways as you can. One of the biggest events of the year, the Taste of Home cooking event, is a great way to get into the hands of over 1,000 enthusiastic home cooks. Sponsorships are very limited, so contact us now to find out how you can participate.

GET LOCAL RESEARCH ON WHAT GROCERY SHOPPERS WANTlnp grocery study research  Lancaster County

If you want to know more about what shoppers in Lancaster County want from a grocery store, check out 5 Surprising Ways to Grow Grocery Sales, first posted in June.

No matter how you’re selling food, or who your target market is, LNP Media Group can help you find smart ways to increase your visibility and attract more shoppers. Contact us to find out more.

LNP Media Group is committed to delivering exceptional experiences to our audiences, our customers, our vendors and our employees throughout Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania. We provide value to our marketing and advertising partners by building effective and innovative solutions and by delivering exemplary customer experiences.
LNP Media Group is a division of Steinman Communications, one of the largest and most experienced communications companies in the Mid-Atlantic. Steinman Communications is an innovative, multi-channel communications company that delivers high quality news, information and entertainment to diverse audiences.