Consumers are rebelling against the “pile them high and sell them cheap strategy” used by some supermarkets.
That was the verdict of principal of Good Sense Research, Marsha Hemingway, at the re-launch of the Food Development Association (FDA) last week.
Good Sense Research conducts consumer focus groups for manufacturers looking to develop new products. It has found some shoppers are becoming increasingly weary of discount ranges. “We have even had people tell us that they have decided not to shop at Tesco any more because they are so annoyed with these particular ranges,” added Hemingway, who was recently appointed consumer representative of the FDA.
She said the addition of such ranges had changed the whole pricing and tiering structure of supermarket offerings, which are now divided into six sections. These include value, discount, standard, regular brands on offer, regular brands and premium.
“Fundamental changes are taking place, and manufacturers need to consider where their products fit into this new tiering system,” advised Hemingway.
She said manufacturers should ignore the media hype about recession because it was distracting and confusing, and “the situation is not as dire, as they [the media] will have you believe”. “After all,” she addded, “with deflation and low interest rates, some people have never had it as good.”
Hemingway’s comments were made at the relaunch of the FDA last week. The aim of the relaunch was to broaden the FDA’s scope outside of its traditional foodservice heartland, making it more relevant to all areas of new product development.
“We want to build on those strengths without losing our special understanding in that sector,” said Richard Fagan, newly appointed director of the FDA. “We aim to breathe new life into the association and to support our members as best we can, especially now in the current economic downturn.”
The FDA also revealed that it had appointed a new board. Members include: Jason Danciger, FDA chairman (head of the hospitality operations for Marks & Spencer); John Feeney, vice chairman (European culinary director for Griffith Laboratories); Keith Miller (who works in product development for Greencore Group); Tony Murphy (executive development chef for the Compass Group) and Marsha Hemingway (principal of Good Sense Research).