With British consumers expected to spend in the region of £400 million on Easter eggs and Easter-related confectionery this year, the increasing choice of options available on supermarket shelves reflects the continuing fragmentation of UK shoppers and their needs.
That’s the view from retail and FMCG agency Bridgethorne, which says that the growing prevalence of diverse product options – from vegan eggs, to a gin & prosecco egg, to one even made entirely from cheese – shows that in a relatively static market, suppliers and retailers are having dig deep in order to satisfy changing and broadening shoppers demands.
The multiples continue to face ferocious competition from the ‘hard’ discounters combined with inflationary cost price increase pressure across the entire value and supply chain. Add to this the ongoing drop in shopper loyalty, a consequent battle for footfall and baskets that have become lower in margin and the reasons for a likely Easter Egg price war become apparent. Tesco, for example, has already offered a 50% discount on some Easter eggs in March.
On the other hand, from a consumer perspective, changing demands are also as a result of changing diets and lifestyle preferences, with consumers under pressure to eat less sugar – even though recent research reported that we are continuing to eat an average of 1,412 calories a day in sweet and savoury snacks between meals. Moreover, over the past five years, over three million Britons have moved towards plant-based diets, replacing meat, dairy and animal products in favour of vegan alternatives. In this environment suppliers and retailers are compelled to offer products that reflect and meet these changing demands in order to, at the very least, remain relevant.
“The increasingly competitive environment means that retailers are having to work even harder to achieve shopper loyalty,” explains Andrew Cole, joint managing director, Bridgethorne.
“If you overlay onto this the undeniable move towards new diets, eating habits and lifestyles, in order to remain competitive, there is a clear need for retailers and suppliers to deliver greater levels of personalisation and a broader range of products that will satisfy these changing lifestyle choices.”
Bridgethorne works with suppliers and retailers to understand changing shopper needs and how these affect their decision-making processes. Using insights, Bridgethorne’s strategic and operational shopper marketing and sales and category management teams help suppliers and retailers understand and influence shopper behaviour directly at the point of purchase.