Clearly shoppers are past the skittishness they displayed a few years ago, as the poor economy caused them to tighten their purse strings and cut back on their foodservice spending. For the past few years, shoppers have shown renewed confidence in the economy and have returned to delis and bakeries.
But the economy is not the only factor at work. Supermarket operators have responded to consumers' ever-increasing desire for convenience by shifting the product mix to more self-service and prepared items. Foodservice has also become a key ingredient in many grocers' competitive strategies. A showcase deli and bakery can set their stores apart from the growing number of retail channels and category killers.
Overall, shopper frequency in the deli and bakery remained strong throughout the country last year. However, the Northeast continues to dominate when it comes to deli shoppers. This is no doubt a reflection of the fact that delis have been long-established in supermarkets in that part of the country. In other areas, such as the South, they are somewhat newer to supermarkets.
There's no question that women remain the primary shoppers, both overall and in the foodservice areas. It's still rare for men to do the shopping by themselves, although in recent years there has been some increase in the number of men who go along on the trip.
Most customers who shop one foodservice department shop them all at least some of the time. For instance, more than half of frequent bakery shoppers also shop the deli and almost two-thirds of frequent deli shoppers shop the bakery as well. That trend carries over to the satellite sections, such as salad bars, prepared foods and cheese shops, although to a lesser degree.
Prepared foods, in particular, continue to grow, as an increasing percentage of both deli and bakery shoppers say they shop that section at least occasionally. However, frequent deli shoppers tend to be more likely than bakery shoppers to shop cheese sections. An equal number of frequent deli shoppers and frequent bakery shoppers also buy from the salad bar.
This shopping pattern offers supermarket operators plenty of proof that they would do well to position and merchandise the sections as one, rather than individual departments. Increasingly, that is occurring, particularly in new stores, as retailers design a total foodservice operation. The newest Price Chopper Marketplace in Overland Park, Kan., for instance, devotes a huge section of floor space to its foodservice area, which includes a sit-down section and a bagel and coffee bar (see "The GOLD standard," page 48).
Family size clearly plays a role in deli and bakery shopping. The patterns in this regard have been quite consistent for a number of years. Small families, particularly two-person households, have long been the primary foodservice customers. These shoppers may be the most likely to appreciate the convenience of deli and bakery products and be willing to pay for that convenience. Large families, no doubt more budget conscious, seem less willing to pay for the convenience of prepared foods and the like.
Foodservice shoppers share the wealth % shopping
Most of the time Occasionally Almost never 1993 1994 1993 1994 1993 1994 Service deli All shoppers 37% 34% 41% 41% 22% 25% Bakery shoppers 51 55 39 35 10 10 Service bakery All shoppers 40 41 46 45 14 14 Deli shoppers 55 63 39 28 6 9 Salad bar All shoppers 6 13 29 34 65 53 Deli shoppers 7 22 31 33 62 45 Bakery shoppers 7 20 28 32 65 48 Prepared foods All shoppers 16% 13% 40% 43% 44% 44% Deli shoppers 27 22 40 52 33 26 Bakery shoppers 26 23 39 48 35 29 Cheese shops All shoppers 23 21 40 46 37 33% Deli shoppers 34 42 43 45 23 13 Bakery shoppers 33 27 46 44 21 29
Deli and bakery products don't always come cheap, so it's not surprising that frequent foodservice customers tend to have somewhat higher incomes than the average shopper. Deli shoppers, for example, earned on average nearly $5,000 more than the average for all shoppers.
Overall, more than half of shoppers said they spent more in supermarkets last year vs. the previous year. Judging by the sales increases in the deli and bakery, at least some of that added money was spent on foodservice items--a positive note for retailers, considering the high margins on many deli and bakery products. The downside is that supermarket operators are having a tough time finding and keeping good deli and bakery employees, a situation that will only get worse if the economy and sales in those departments stay strong.
% of income spent in the supermarket compared with a year ago
1993 1994 Spent more 41% 55% Spent same 44 27 Spent less 15 18
While the bulk of deli and bakery shoppers are between 30 and 49 years old and may have one or two children, seniors comprise a significant group of foodservice shoppers. As the population continues to age, they will grow in importance.
Some supermarket operators are recognizing this fact and tailoring their product mix to suit these shoppers. Smaller packages--with, say, two or four muffins rather than six or eight--appeal to seniors. Health-oriented items, such as those low in fat and cholesterol, are also popular with these customers. Strong merchandising of these items should help, attract this growing group of shoppers.
While supermarkets clearly hold the edge as the outlet of choice for shoppers overall, other retailers have been making inroads. To some degree that's true with frequent deli and bakery shoppers, as well. Yet foodservice shoppers actually spent less than the average shopper in both fast-food restaurants and mass merchandisers last year--a positive sign for supermarketers. Prepared foods may be the key to continuing this trend, as supermarkets improve the quality and quantity of their offerings.
Splitting the food dollar Shopper spending pattern at supers and
% of all Amount spent by consumers all shoppers Type of outlet shopping outlet weekly 1993 1994 1993 1994 Supermarkets 100% 100% $71.34 $71.17 Convenience stores 51 44 11.28 14.13 Fast-food restaurants 68 60 17.72 18.06 Mass merchandisers 71 57 28.50 33.76
% of deli Amount spent by consumers deli shoppers Type of outlet shopping outlet weekly 1993 1994 1993 1994 Supermarkets 100% 100% $77.85 $78.34 Convenience stores 53 51 9.49 14.07 Fast-food restaurants 79 67 20.55 14.15 Mass merchandisers 81 61 30.60 30.93
% of bakery Amount spent by consumers bakery shoppers Type of outlet shopping outlet weekly 1993 1994 1993 1994 Supermarkets 100% 100% $78.96 $74.04 Convenience stores 46 47 11.09 15.33 Fast-food restaurants 71 66 24.46 14.69 Mass merchandisers 77 67 32.94 30.72
While frequent foodservice customers are different from typical shoppers in some ways, they also share plenty of similarities. For example, they are just as prone to deviate from their shopping lists and make an impulse purchase. For that reason, supermarket operators should use the same merchandising tactics in the deli and bakery that they do in other sections of the store. Mass displays, feature prices and sampling are all apt to boost impulse buys in the foodservice department as they are in grocery or elsewhere. These shoppers are also just as likely as other shoppers to read newspaper ads and circulars, so the deli and bakery shouldn't be left out of advertising plans.
Foodservice shoppers: Big on impulse % saying
Almost Almost always Frequently Occasionally never Feel completely satisfied All shoppers 31% 41% 24% 4% Deli shoppers 26 48 23 3 Bakery shoppers 31 40 28 1 Plan a menu All shoppers 20 16 30 34 Deli shoppers 21 12 39 28 Bakery shoppers 22 20 32 26 Deviate from shopping list All shoppers 18 29 41 12 Deli shoppers 20 28 43 9 Bakery shoppers 22 34 34 10 Make an unplanned impulse purchase All shoppers 16 26 49 9 Deli shoppers 13 29 50 8 Bakery shoppers 24 30 40 6 Make shopping list All shoppers 68% 13% 12% 7% Deli shoppers 69 19 8 4 Bakery shoppers 70 14 9 7 Look over coupons All shoppers 65 16 11 8 Deli shoppers 66 17 12 5 Bakery shoppers 66 15 11 8 Read newspaper ads All shoppers 58 15 14 13 Deli shoppers 57 18 15 10 Bakery shoppers 54 17 18 11 Read ad circulars All shoppers 63 14 13 10 Deli shoppers 62 16 14 8 Bakery shoppers 59 18 16 7
Morning shopping, particularly on Saturday, dominates among all shoppers, including deli and bakery customers. However, foodservice shoppers who are employed full-time are somewhat more likely to shop in the evening and during the week. Among these customers, prepared foods, both hot and cold, are likely to be big sellers.
If foodservice shoppers are looking for convenience and easy in-and-out, they are apparently finding it in supers. Both deli and bakery customers are likely to spend a little less time in the store than the typical shopper. This may be because many of them are coming in just for prepared items and other ready-to-heat or ready-to-eat products, rather than shopping the whole store. Traditionally, foodservice shoppers who do their full grocery trip, including stops at the deli and bakery, tend to spend more time in the store than other shoppers.
Shorter stay in supers
Length of average shopping trip
All shoppers 49.0 minutes Deli shoppers 47.7 minutes Bakery shoppers 46.5 minutes
RELATED ARTICLE: Source of shopper research
The Custom Services Division of the NPD Group Inc. has a national reputation in the research field. Its HTI Consumer Panel consists of approximately 250,000 households throughout the United States and is quota-controlled to match U.S. Census data. Participants in the Progressive Grocer NPD Study are drawn from a panel of 500 households. Households surveyed contain an average of 2.6 people and have an average income of $34.098.
RELATED ARTICLE: Saturday's the day
Day of major % of all % of deli % of bakery shopping trip shoppers shoppers shoppers Sunday 13% 14% 11% Monday 13 10 11 Tuesday 8 7 5 Wednesday 12 14 8 Thursday 14 17 20 Friday 15 13 18 Saturday 25 25 27
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|Title Annotation:||Deli/Bakery Shopper Update '95|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1995|
|Previous Article:||Working the middle ground.|
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