Consumers are Meal Planning before going Grocery Shopping
As consumers become increasingly conscious of how their grocery dollars are spent, the concept of planning meals and shopping using a list has caught on in many households. The NPD Group, a market research company, has released a research report that states that about 3 out of 4 American households plan at least some of their dinner meals in advance, with about half stating that they plan breakfast and lunch also.
The report, called “Before the Store”, looks at the grocery shopping habits of individuals covering menu planning, meal preparation habits, eating behaviors, and shopping. Researchers found that 71 percent of shoppers planned some dinners in advance, with 24 percent stating that they planned almost all of their dinners in advance.
What this means to retailers is that most grocery buyers don’t come to the store without a list in hand. Researchers feel that knowing this in advance is one way that retailers can better market products to shoppers. Ann Hanson, author of the report says, “Retailers and manufacturers who can help consumers address meal planning challenges have the potential to become ingrained in the family meal planning and shopping cycle.”
The report found that in most households, the woman in the home is normally both the primary shopper and prepares most of the meals. According to the report, the primary challenge for home cooks is finding new ideas for main dishes, creating meals that are fast to cook, and coming up with meals that fit the family budget. The main resource for many of these shoppers is the use of recipe ideas. One third of households in the survey said they use recipes on a weekly basis, and two thirds said they use recipes at least once a month.
Meal Planning allows Shoppers to budget for Grocery Shopping
Consumers who make impulse purchases in the grocery store are often responding to challenges related to cost and convenience. Most shoppers who purchased items that were not on their lists said that the reason they bought the item was that it was on sale. Shoppers looking for meal ideas in the store are also more likely to purchase prepared goods while shopping. Manufacturers who understand the meal planning process that occurs before people go shopping are more likely to be able to design marketing strategies that will appeal to shoppers who already have a list in hand.
The importance of recipes in consumers shopping habits is another trend that advertisers can take advantage of. With the increase in the popularity of internet recipe sites, advertisers and grocery stores can attract customers by pairing their offering with recipes that appeal to shoppers. Customers are constantly looking for new ways to feed their families, and manufacturers who create prepared foods can find ways to target this audience. The growing trend of cooking at home shows no signs of slowing down, and retailers hoping to tap into the market of consumers who shop using a pre-designed list can use the NPD research to help target strategies for these customers.