The British grocery trade needs to focus more on selling solutions and not just stuff, the director of Kantar Worldpanel has urged UK retailers and manufacturers.
Speaking at the TasteWales conference in Newport on 23 March, Giles Quick called on the groceries industry to look at what people want to get out of a purchase rather simply focusing on the product itself.
He said: “To my mind the UK grocery trade has too long sold stuff and hasn’t been responsive enough to consumer trends. It hasn’t looked at the end that consumers have in mind when they go into retailers to buy what they buy.
“Twenty years ago we entered the store knowing what we were going to make… Now, increasingly, we walk into store with no idea. That changes from retailers and manufacturers supplying stuff, from supplying ingredients, to supplying a solution and to inspire.”
In fresh produce ready-prepared products such as Tesco’s chorizo roast potatoes, Mediterranean roasting vegetables and Tandoori vegetable bake have offered shoppers value and inspiration.
With planned cooking from scratch in decline, retailers are already “premiumising” by selling meal solutions of this kind, but retailers still have work to do to improve their offer, Quick believes.
The Kantar director also complained of a continued emphasis on price rather than convenience at British retailers, highlighting what he called “a fundamental mismatch between grocery trade supply and consumer demand”.
“Manufacturers and consumers talk to me, as a consumer, mostly about money,” he said. “But most of the time I’ve got a little bit more of that [than I did 20 years ago]. What you don’t talk to me about is convenience. You don’t talk to me about saving time.
“There are plenty of examples of where consumers are prepared to pay a dramatic premium – maybe over 100 per cent if you take the example of one-minute pouch rice.
“To save eleven minutes [boiling time] I’m paying a premium of 100 per cent. We’re prepared to pay for convenience. [There are] big opportunities there.”