Looking Ahead

December 30th, 2011 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Looking Ahead

As we enter a new year, I thought it might be helpful to look at some expected retail trends for 2012. I don’t have a crystal ball to help with this assessment, but I do have a new survey from Mambo Sprouts Marketing, which examines what consumers will be focusing on as we enter 2012. Mambo Sprouts is a very well respected group and their surveys are typically very well done. Keep in mind, of course, that in the end, it is a survey, meaning we’re extrapolating information from a small segment of people and assuming that works for the larger population. With that said, I do think some of the results here can be helpful.

Label and ingredient focus was a highlight of the study. Mambo Sprouts surveyed the buying habits of 1,000 health and natural product consumers to get an outlook on market trends for the coming year.

From the survey:

Health and natural consumers are paying more attention to what goes into the products they purchase. Most already buy organic foods (99%), non-GMO products (93%), antibiotic free (ABF) and hormone free meat and poultry (85%), and gluten free foods (69%). More than half plan to increase purchasing of organic foods (64%), non-GMO (56%), ABF and hormone free products (52%), and 38% plan to increase gluten free purchases.

Among those consumers who seek out non-GMO foods (66%), a large majority (85%) want food products to be specifically certified and labeled as non-GMO. Perhaps more importantly, seven in ten (70%) expect that products labeled “USDA Organic” are non-GMO. This compares to just 41% of consumers who expect “natural” products to be non-GMO. To that end, two in three (67%) wish their favorite retail stores provided more information about non-GMO such as signage, special sections and advertising features.

Notably, almost seven in ten (68%) cited “ingredient list” as a key brand purchase factor for 2012. Among the other purchase drivers, health and nutrition benefits (69%), organic ingredients (51%), price (51%), and coupons (47%) were frequently ranked as “very important.”

And while consumers expect to increase organic purchasing across all product categories, Karen Herther, Director of MamboTrack Research, says health conscious consumers remain torn over their organic preferences and price. “Price is still very much a top-of-mind factor among consumers—driving where people shop and how marketers position and promote their products.”

While prices (69%) were among the factors most important to consumers in deciding where to shop in 2012, they also ranked selection of healthy/organic products (68% vs. 56%), safe food preparation and storage (62% vs. 55%) and environmentally friendly practices (31% vs. 25%) higher than in 2011.

Although consumer patterns for 2012 will certainly extend beyond the boundaries of this survey, these snippets do provide a glimpse into some aspects that retailers of organic and natural foods can use as opportunities as the New Year begins.

Have a wonderful and safe New Year.