What’s driving pandemic pantry decisions?

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What’s driving pandemic pantry decisions?

By Frances Zelazny, Signals Analytics - 07/24/2020

Packaged food consumption increased 20% as compared with 2019 during the week of June 15 — doubling growth from the week. What does this mean? Consumer behavior is changing rapidly due to the pandemic. Behaviors like stockpiling, which was prominent at the early stage of the crisis — as well as lifestyle changes with remote work and more time to cook — are occurring in tandem with rising grocery costs, which are the highest they have been in nearly 10 years.

When looking closely, it is clear that not all categories are equal, and not all brands will fare the same. In fact, a PwC consumer sentiment survey revealed that consumers were all loading their pantries more than normal in April, and 42% plan to continue to do so until after the coronavirus is resolved.

Given the emphasis on the pantry, brands must understand exactly what is driving consumer purchases in order to remain competitive and excel during this extended crisis period.

Grocery brands should leverage advanced analytics to surface key insights for the COVID-19 era
When digging into trends, the Signals Analytics platform revealed that affordability was a key benefit that consumers sought. Consumer discussions around affordability increased 10% year over year, and from February to April alone there was another 20% jump.

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Additionally, data shows that the feature consumers discuss most often pertain to a healthy diet. This suggests that people do not want to compromise immune health for affordability, but are looking for the best of both worlds.

What does this mean for brands? When looking at analytic models that compare product claims and consumer discussions, it is clear that affordability is a key white space opportunity for brands to capitalize on.


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We have seen that many store brands are experiencing increased interest from consumers, likely due to their positioning around affordability and health. Analyzing Brand Positioning shows the brands with the most consumer discussions, highlighting the perceived benefits they are associated with — and we’re seeing a lot of conversation around Trader Joe’s, for example, in this way.

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Connecting and sifting through multiple data sources yields powerful market intelligence
By connecting countless rich data sources — including the voice of the consumer, key opinion leaders, business updates and other signals of innovation (patent filings, etc.) — and leveraging NLP technologies like those in the Signals Analytics platform, companies can translate these otherwise unstructured and disparate data types into a holistic perspective of the market. These are powerful for many different roles within an organization and can help manufacturers make key decisions that impact a company’s bottom line.

By looking at the data and finding white spaces, private label manufacturers have the power to win over loyal consumers. Data is key to understanding the consumer and by leveraging data and advanced analytics in the right way, companies can find major growth areas — even in a recession.



Frances Zelazny is chief marketing officer of Signals Analytics, New York


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