Consumers' Definition of Value Expands Beyond Price

Retailers can inspire experimentation across dayparts through snacks and food.

CHICAGO — New data sheds light on the evolving landscape of the food industry by highlighting consumers' ever-changing concept of "value."

Joint research from Circana, FMI – The Food Industry Association and management consulting firm Oliver Wyman entitled "Finding Growth for Food & Beverage at Retail: Winning Eating Occasions throughout the Day" demonstrates how consumers are increasingly drawn to food and beverage options that promote well-being, offer competitive pricing, and provide convenience in purchasing and preparation.

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"The research showcases how food and beverages that promote well-being, those that are competitively priced and products that are decidedly convenient to buy and prepare, will ultimately earn shoppers' allegiance," said Mark Baum, senior vice president of industry relations and chief collaboration officer, FMI. "We are witnessing shifts toward foodservice spending, a rise in digitization and return-to-office protocols that all provide food and beverage retail with opportunities to improve how they deliver on what matters most to consumers."

[Read more: Snack, Meal or Both?]

For example, the research revealed that while 87% of morning eating occasions and 76% of midday eating occasions are sourced from home, there is an increasing trend toward foodservice across many consumer segments, particularly Generation Z and Generation X, reflecting growing demand for convenience.

"Time is of the essence for Americans, especially when it comes to their morning routines. Sixty-five percent of morning eating occasions are prepared in less than five minutes, and we see opportunities for new appliances that give consumers quick solutions, with the microwave gaining the most ground since 2020," said Sally Lyons Wyatt, global executive vice president and chief advisor, consumer goods and foodservice insights, Circana.

Other insights include:

  • In the evening, lower-prep, quick-cleanup and fewer ingredients are growing trends. "Dinner represents the largest financial upside for retailers winning at home relative to other eating occasions throughout the day. To increase their share of evening consumption, retailers and suppliers must offer solutions that are not only sufficiently convenient but also offer the varieties of cuisines and textures found in a foodservice offering," Randall Sargent, partner at Oliver Wyman, pointed out.
  • Retailers can share a compelling story for how these solutions meet the value-for-money and health preferences for busy consumers to prepare their midday food and beverages. "The insights demonstrate how our industry can be successful by capitalizing on consumers' shifting habits, especially when companies consider dayparts, such as snacks, to inspire experimentation and create new memories through food," said Steve Markenson, FM vice president, research & insights.
  • Retailers can cater to newfound eating experiences among consumers. Operators should explore new channels to compete for untapped potential in places primarily occupied by food distributors.

To download "Finding Growth for Food & Beverage at Retail: Winning Eating Occasions throughout the Day," click here.

Based in Arlington, Va., FMI works with and on behalf of the entire industry to advance a safer, healthier and more efficient consumer food supply chain. 

Headquartered in Chicago, Circana advises on the complexity of consumer behavior through technology, advanced analytics and cross-industry data to unlock business growth.

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