The Future of Consumer Demands: Webinar Key Takeaways

February 12, 2024

By Jim Dudlicek / NGA Managing Editor and Content Strategist

Consumers have more choices and information than ever before when it comes to making food purchase decisions that meet their needs and the needs of their families. The retailers who win with these shoppers deliver assortment and service that better meets their needs.

Independent retailers are the heart of communities across the country and are at their best when they reflect this unique community insight. It’s the difference between independents and “one-size-fits-all” big box/discount retailers and “never-ending aisle” online retailers.

In a recent webinar hosted by the National Grocers Association, experts from market insights provider SPINS will offer insight into the key themes and drivers of consumer demands in the marketplace today and how independent grocers can help their shoppers stay loyal to their family and community needs.

The discussion was led by Meagan Nelson, vice president for retail and distributor growth at SPINS, and Andrew Henkel, SPINS executive vice president for retail.

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

Competition is everywhere and constantly changing. It’s not just the store down the street anymore – it’s foodservice, big box, e-commerce and dollar stores. The number of dollar stores in the United States has more than tripled since 2003.

Everything costs more. Average prices across the store continue to climb, driven by inflation and supply chain pressures. Private label is growing as consumers trade down from top-tier choices. Seeking greater value for their dollar, 50% of shoppers actively participate in loyalty programs, 59% use loyalty points to save money and 70% use digital coupons.

49% of consumers today are values-oriented shoppers, driven by concern for the planet, people, animals and health. 52% of American adults follow a specific diet or eating pattern, versus 43% a year ago. Values-oriented consumers shop across all channels. They prioritize transparency when purchasing new brands.

Independent retailers are a lens for future trends. With lower barriers to entry for new brands, independents can offer unique, exclusive items to differentiate, focus on local market needs and enhance shopper discovery.

Independents are experiencing pockets of unit growth in key values segments. In health,  growth categories include cottage cheese, coconut water and milk, and dried seaweed. Among convenience products, there’s growth in energy drinks, RTD cocktails and frozen pancakes. Combining health with convenience, there’s growth in drinkable yogurt, protein/meal drinks and wellness shots.

Fuel growth with detailed assortment optimization. Leverage brand positioning, label claims and nutritional, ingredient and wellness considerations that are driving purchasing decisions. Meet shopper expectations by delivering all relevant product information – 76% of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase from companies that personalize.

Consumers look to independent retailers to deliver on values. If they can’t find it with their local independent community grocer, they will fill their need elsewhere.

Learn more exclusive insights by viewing a recording of the complete webinar here: