The World is Not a Stage, It's a Supermarket

The World is Not a Stage, It's a Supermarket

June 18, 2014

RDBA Executive Director

Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FAND

Last week, FMI Connect kicked off with a bang as Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO of FMI, shared her presentation The World is Not a Stage, It's a Supermarket.  In her presentation, Sarasin addressed the following five topics impacting the retail industry today.

1. Channel Surfing.  While years ago, consumers had four television stations to choose from, today they have thousands.  Now, they have a favorite news station, favorite sports channel, best pick for kids programs, etc.  In the same way, consumers are diversifying where they shop.  They are selective in what they buy and where they buy it.  One in 10 shoppers can't name a primary grocery store.  While you may assume it's Millennials driving this trend as they're not traditional joiners, it's actually Baby Boomers who are driving the trend away from a primary grocery store.  They have much more free time and will visit a variety of stores for their groceries.

  • Retail RD Activation:  Develop and offer programs and services that encourage Baby Boomers to visit your stores more frequently, such as RTH dinners of the day or morning coffee health discussion groups.

2. The Shrinking Middle Class.  Historically, retailers have leveraged a strategy of catering to the middle class, knowing it would also pull some from higher and lower income groups.  With the shrinking of the middle class, it's essential for retailers to understand the demographics of the neighborhoods of each of their stores and cater directly to the needs of this audience.

  • Retail RD Activation:  Understand who in your retailer manages demographic data, and partner with this department to fully understand the markets where you offer programs and services.  Customize your programs and services to directly meet the needs of your stores' audiences.

3. Gender Roles. Yes, it's true. More men are shopping.  As more women work outside the home, there is an ongoing reshuffling of who cooks, cleans, and shops.  Today, women are the primary shopper 57% of the time, and men 43% of the time, representing a significant shift over the past 30 years.

  • Retail RD Activation:  Build programs, promotions and resources that speak to men's needs and align with how they shop.

4. Passing the torch.  Today, Both Baby Boomers and Millennials comprise 24% of the population, creating the battle of the circular vs. the app.  The two groups take different approaches to shopping.  Boomers tend to stock the pantry; Millennials shop for today's meals and want meal solutions merchandised and sold together.  Boomers eat three squares while Millenials graze their way through five to six mini-meals.  Both generations make shopping lists, but Boomers add to them as they run out of food items, while Millennials create them right before they shop. 

  • Retail RD Activation:  Offer health and wellness merchandising, marketing and advertising strategies that cater to the needs of both generations. 

5. Growing Societal Focus on Wellness.  In 1970, healthcare cost $380 per person annually.  Today, it's risen to $8,402, totaling $2.54 trillion nationally.  Preventative health has never been a higher priority, and consumers see grocers as "on their side" when it comes to healthy living.  The challenge today, however, is how consumers define healthy living.  It's no longer about saturated fat, sodium, and fiber, but include minimally processed, recognizable ingredients, and locally grown.  The good news for retail is that 90% of Americans believe eating at home is healthier than eating away from home.

  • Retail RD Activation:  Master the art of communicating the benefit of what you're doing.  Broaden the scope of your offerings to include the shopper’s definition of healthy living.  Consider convenient meal solution programs that help consumers eat more healthfully at home.