Looking for ways to connect with your shoppers mid- and post-pandemic? It’s in the can!

Looking for ways to connect with your shoppers mid- and post-pandemic? It’s in the can!

October 5, 2021
Retail Industry InsightsTrends

(Click thumbnails to enlarge charts)

COVID-19 has impacted every facet of our lives. From how we work, to how we play, how we learn and how we interact, nothing is as it used to be. This is especially true for matters related to food. How we shop, where we shop, what we eat and how we eat have all been affected.  The more supermarket registered dietitian nutritionists know about these trends, the better they can educate their shoppers.

Consumers are still enjoying more family meals at home, according to FMI’s US Grocery Shopper Trends 2021. Nearly 60% of shoppers said they are eating more at home, and half said they are cooking more now than before the pandemic. Eating together as a family is increasingly valued, with 34% (up from 26% foolast year) saying that eating together as a household is extremely important.

Consumers’ perception of what makes foods healthy shifted during the pandemic, according to the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2021 Food and Health Survey. More consumers defined a food as healthy based on what it contained, rather than the absence of negatives.  Taste continues to be the primary purchase driver, convenience was consistent when compared to 2020 levels, and protein and fiber top the list of desired nutrients, according to IFIC’s report.

During the pandemic, consumers stocked up on canned foods in general and specifically canned beans. According to Nielsen IQ’s ongoing tracking study (Canned Food Trends Period Ending 07/17/2021), sales of canned beans out -paced total grocery sales in the initial months of the pandemic. This canned food surge has now leveled off, suggesting consumers may need usage ideas for these pantry staples.

Beginning March 2020, food-at-home spending outpaced away-from-home spending every month, according to USDA’s Economic Research Services. This pattern reversed 2019’s trend, where out-of-home food spending exceeded in-home throughout the year except for the winter holiday season. In April and May 2021, out-of-home food purchasing is making a comeback, presenting a potential retail threat.

There are several steps retailers can take to deepen their connection with shoppers while maintaining or increasing at-home food purchases.

  • Meet consumers where they are. Business Insider’s 2020 Online Grocery Report projects continued growth for online grocery sales. Continuing to refine and expand online sales and delivery options will resonate with shoppers.
  • Offer convenient solutions. Provide simple recipe ideas for quick, nutritious meals to help shoppers use the canned beans and other canned foods in the pantry.
  • Invest in canned foods. According to the Canned Manufacturer’s Institute (CMI), canned foods deliver $6.86 for every $1 invested, more than the grocery department and 20% more than alternative packaging.
  • Promote what’s “in” foods, rather than what’s not. For example, when promoting canned beans, highlighting their rich protein and fiber content will resonate more strongly than promoting “fat-free,” or “gluten-free.”
  • Make food relevant to today’s shoppers. Help your shoppers understand how various foods fit within a healthy family meal.  RDBA’s sponsor page resources provide educational tools and promotional support to help connect with your shoppers throughout the year.