FMI: Today's food shoppers increasingly look for transparency

CHICAGO — The Food Marketing Institute earlier this week released its U.S. Grocery ShopperTrends 2017 Cover Tile Trends analysis, which signaled that U.S. grocery shoppers want more than just information on the food they buy. They desire transparency that engages them, offers assurances of food safety and supports their pursuit of health-and-wellness.

“[Consumers] can handle the truth, and the information they do want to know, they want delivered in a clear, forthright, trustworthy and easy-to-find way that conveys some sense of vulnerability and openness," stated Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO FMI. "This is a crucial area because I think honest clarity is the currency of trust in the digital age.”

While less traditional retailers enjoy more grocery traffic and shopper loyalty, FMI Trends data noted that 8% of shoppers still claim to have “no primary store.” Limited assortment (25%), natural (17%), convenience (11%), ethnic (11%) and online-only (11%) food stores are increasingly frequented by shoppers. This is particularly significant because this year the research suggests how comfortable millennials have suddenly become with using online shopping for their grocery needs, although they still order only a limited breadth of food products online.

Sarasin insisted that the unpredictable state of the marketplace demands a strategy to help transform a retailer from “just a store” to an ally. According to the Trends findings, overall shopper ratings of how well stores are meeting their needs favor those retail channels that lead in transparency, including natural and organic, online-only, club, fresh-focused and midmarket  traditional grocery stores. Conversely, retail channels trailing in transparency include discount, convenience, supercenter, limited, dollar, drug and value-focused. Consumers continue to view their primary store also as a primary ally in their wellness pursuits (45%).

The analysis cites dimensions of transparency that can help retailers better connect consumers with the broader context of their food, notably a retailer that demonstrates easy access to relevant information, clear quality standards, proactivity and accountability, fair treatment of employees and openness about business practices. In fact, the findings describe the way consumers rank fresh-focused traditional grocery stores and natural and organic stores, above value-focused traditional supermarkets across all dimensions of transparency.

“In the competitive food retail landscape and in an age in which information moves faster and faster, the consumer demand for clear and honest answers offers a zip-line to confidence in the complex food system,” Sarasin said, emphasizing that transparency lends relevance to the retailer-shopper relationship.
 

Login or Register to post a comment.