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Manufacturers told ‘emotional innovation key to growth’

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Manufacturers and retailers told to engage with consumers on a more emotional level
Manufacturers and retailers told to engage with consumers on a more emotional level

Related tags Igd chief executive Retailing

Food and drink manufacturers should engage with shoppers on “a more emotional level” when planning new product innovation, recommends grocery think-tank IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch.

“Food stores will focus more and more on fresh and new products, and here, ​[shoppers] emotions really will rule,”​ said Denney-Finch at IGD’s Big Debate conference yesterday (October 18).

“For suppliers, it means if you’re not fresh and you’re not new – and you’re not bringing excitement or helping the retailer to differentiate – you’re going to get marginalised in tomorrow’s food stores.”

Manufacturers and retailers need to stop thinking so rationally and build their emotional relationship with shoppers by reaction to buyers’ sense of freedom, Denney-Finch added, after IGD research found online and discount shopping produced the most positive emotions among buyers.

It also found that many shoppers see large retailers as ‘the establishment’.

The establishment

“I think most of us, in terms of a retailing experience – and this does have applications for manufacturing – focus on price, quality, value, convenience and taste,” ​Denney-Finch told FoodManufacture.co.uk after the conference.

“But culture is moving on, and socially there have been changes too. Therefore, the challenge for retailing and manufacturing – because they are a response to culture – is to recognise some of the changes.”

IGD research revealed that people’s emotions played an important role when shopping in large retailers, including their control, desire, belonging, immersion and freedom. During the conference, Denney-Finch said that shoppers felt in control when shopping, but didn’t feel fully engaged.

At the same time, shoppers felt greater desire, freedom and immersion when shopping at discount stores. Denney-Finch said: “Between discount and full range stores, the trade-off is between price and range – or so we think. But shoppers told us that shopping at a discounter is quick, easy and better for new products.”

Another big opportunity for manufacturers was the food-to-go sector, Denney-Finch said.

Big opportunity for manufacturers

“Cook it at home’ versus ‘food-to-go’ is usually viewed as a trade-off between price and convenience. But I think the single biggest reason why food-to-go is surging ahead is the way it engages our emotions.

“It is fun, varied, immediate, a treat and generally low in stress. Home cooking can be inspiring too, but the centre of an average supermarket is a pretty uninspiring place.”

She added that online shopping engaged with shoppers on a deeper level than buying in-store. She said “it’s easy to get absorbed in the Aladdin’s Cave of possibilities online.”

Meanwhile, listen out for FoodManufacture.co.uk’s exclusive audio interview with Denney-Finch, where she explains how manufacturers and retailers can work together to boost sales by improving shopper experience.

Spotlight on prices at IGD’s Big Debate conference

Food prices dominated many discussions at IGD’s conference yesterday. Here is what industry insiders had to say:

  • Sainsbury ceo Mike Coupe said:“Products will be sourced from different areas of the world to mitigate to some extent the cost pressures of the industry. Having said that there are cost pressures in the industry, and it would be wrong to shy away from that.”
  • IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: ​[Retailers] are competitive and that will mean quite a lot of price increases will be muted.”
  • Tesco UK ceo Matt Davies said: “Everybody should be very clear how damaging inflation is to the economy, to retail businesses, to manufacturing businesses and how lethal it can be to millions of people who are struggling to live from week to week.”

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