Personalized shopping, retail trends, and sustainable food brands - Weekly Snacks #85

Campaign corner

Santa’s wish. Santa, in a nationwide letter, has requested savory snacks instead of cookies this year, suggesting Canadians leave out chips. Research by Frito Lay Canada and Angus Reid Forum shows that 68% of Canadians sometimes prefer savory holiday snacks. Frito Lay is advocating for this new tradition, aligning with their popular brands like Lay's®, Doritos®, and Cheetos®.

Strong beer. Voodoo Ranger, renowned for its strong beers, is pursuing a unique challenge with the endorsement of The World's Strongest Man, Mitchell Hooper. They aim to create the world's most robust can of IPA. This special 19.2oz Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA can weighs a hefty 14 pounds, stands 8.5 inches tall, and is made of half an inch thick steel, making it exceptionally strong. It can withstand extreme conditions, resisting 45 tons of pressure from a hydraulic press, unfazed by molten glass, and impervious to the intense heat of a flamethrower at 3400° F.

Retail technology

Personalized shopping. Mastercard's Dynamic Yield recently introduced Shopping Muse, a generative AI tool designed to convert everyday language into personalized product suggestions. Acquired by Mastercard last year, Dynamic Yield is a personalization platform that now enables shoppers to find products using trendy terms like "cottagecore" or "beach formal." The tool tailors recommendations based on the user's demographic details, shopping intent, past purchases, and other characteristics.

2023 retail trends. The grocery industry has faced different challenges and changes in recent years. In 2020, the focus was on the pandemic, 2021 saw a surge in online grocery shopping, and 2022 was marked by inflation and cautious consumer spending. For 2023, the overarching theme is 'value', both in terms of cost-effectiveness and the overall worth shoppers perceive in their local grocery stores. Consumers remain price-sensitive, often opting for cheaper alternatives and discount stores, while grocers are striving to differentiate themselves in a competitive market. Major developments included Walmart gaining market share, the rise of discount retailers like Aldi, and changes in the grocery landscape with various store acquisitions and strategic shifts.

Experts in retail 

Pet Retailers. What does the pet category’s sales slowdown reveal about the discretionary spending pressures facing the category and the opportunity for premium pet food and care? Do you applaud Petco’s move to bring in more value-driven brands, and do you think Chewy is set to gain market share? These are the questions that various retail experts answered in one of Retail Wire’s discussions. Here’s what Neil Saunders mentioned: 

Small retailers. Have the online-driven offerings cited in the GoDaddy survey (BOPIS, digital payments, e-commerce, and social media storefronts) become an expectation, even for smaller businesses? Where do you see smaller stores at a disadvantage to larger chains in digital-facing technologies? Various retail experts answered these questions in one of Retail Wire’s discussions. This is what Jeff Sward stated: 

In other news…

Steady inflation. In November, U.S. inflation remained steady, with a slight 0.1% increase in overall and food-at-home prices, as reported by the Consumer Price Index. Notably, fuel prices decreased significantly, while food-away-from-home costs continued to rise. President Biden and industry leaders commented on the trend, highlighting the need for strategic consumer spending and corporate responsibility in pricing.

Sustainable food brands. Brand Finance's Sustainability Perceptions Index reveals a growing awareness among retailers and brands of the financial benefits linked to an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) agenda. This index evaluates brands based on their commitment to environmental protection, community support, and governance, using a sustainability perceptions score (SPS). Among food brands, Nestlé leads with the highest sustainability perception value, followed by companies like Yili, Lay’s, Danone, and Tyson, indicating a significant correlation between sustainability efforts and brand value.


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