Reducing vegetable pack sizes to engineer the market is a “flawed concept” and does not help boost long-term consumption and sales, according to one retail analyst.
Despite evidence that shows consumers shop by pack, the average size of pre packed vegetables in the UK is in decline, Kantar communications director Ed Garner warned delegates at the European Vegetable Strategies conference in Brussels last week.
He stressed that dropping pack sizes in response to difficult market conditions and price deflation is not the answer.
“Yes it is a strategy to reduce pack size if prices drop. But if there is less in a pack then consumers eat less. If you reduce your pack size, the volume of your market goes down,” he said. “It’s a cautionary tale. It’s very dangerous to reduce pack size.”
Instead, Garner said suppliers should stay on top of the situation by having a strategy in place, in terms of marketing and pricing, to respond to any changes in the market effectively.
“Consumers notice the price of the till at the end – they don’t notice the individual prices of things except perhaps milk. What you have to have is a strategy whether price goes up or down, so you can deal with whatever movements happen.”
According to Garner, online shopping is also a key factor in determining pack size. “The categories that are growing very strongly are huge on the internet – ginger and squash, parsley and pak-choi. It’s worth knowing if your category is one of these, as online potential also has implications for packaging size,” he said.
“We are strong on internet shopping in the UK. The online market is still in growth, and accounts for about six per cent of entire grocery shopping market.
“My main concern is be very conscious of what you’re doing in pack size. This whole concept of pack size to engineer market is flawed. Instead try and be as different as possible to compete, like Waitrose and to a lesser extent Sainsbury’s,” he added.