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New Eye Tracking Research Highlights Brand Impact Of Foils And Laminates On Customers
New research from Package InSight at Clemson University has highlighted the decisive impact on customers of foils and laminates on packaging. The study, titled ‘Brand impact delivered through packaging’, presents compelling proof of consumers’ preference for luxury chocolate packs that have been foiled or laminated.
Undertaken at Clemson University’s CUshop™ Consumer Experience Laboratory, the study examined the on-shelf impact of metallic materials by fitting 70 participants – or "shoppers" – with state-of-the-art eye-tracking glasses that recorded their eye movements while they selected products from a shelf. From this, researchers were able to analyse the "nonconscious" signals that informed participants’ behaviour and purchasing decisions.
“We are very excited to announce the results of this study, which we have made fully available in our latest white paper,” says Richard Burhouse, Commercial Director at API, the study’s sponsor. “Package InSight’s academic rigor and methodology have enabled us to offer brand owners and designers valuable new insights into consumer preferences when purchasing premium chocolate – an increasingly crowded and competitive market.”
The study found that, for both Belgian and Swiss luxury chocolates, participants' gazes fixated significantly more often – and for significantly longer periods – on foiled and laminated versions of the packs than on versions without metallic treatment. More importantly, participants were more likely to select and “purchase” the metallised packs than their identical but un-metallised counterparts.
A further interview segment of the study then shone light on why participants favoured the foiled and laminated packs, with a consensus emerging that these treatments added a premium feel to the chocolate that was suggestive of higher quality products. Responses included, "The foil-stamped version looks more elegant and expressive", and "It gives it a more premium look and shows their attention to detail."
“The study provides quantitative data on the impact of foils in delivering brand and shelf impact,” comments Richard. “It is clear from the results that, applied intelligently, foil can significantly boost the chances of luxury chocolate products in a retail store environment – a finding that could have a great impact on the future of luxury packaging."
Shoppers Turn To Healthy Eating As Free-From Soars In Grocery Market
The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks ending 26 March 2017, show supermarket sales increased in value by 1.4% compared to the same time last year.
Slower growth was primarily due to Easter falling outside the latest 12 weeks, while the celebration fell within the comparable period last year.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Despite rising prices, we’ve seen shoppers’ minds turn to healthy eating after the excess of the festive period and before the temptation of Easter. Greater demand for gluten or dairy-free products, particularly from younger shoppers, has boosted the ‘free from’ category by 36% year on year. In fact, 54% of the population purchased a ‘free from’ product during the past three months – that’s 3.3 million more people than last year.
“Meanwhile inflation shows no signs of abating. The price of everyday goods is up by 2.3% compared to this time last year, and rising prices cost the average household an additional £21.31 during the past 12 weeks.
“We expect inflation to continue to accelerate, and as a result we’re likely to see consumers looking for cheaper alternatives. A reduction in promotional activity means the proportion of spending on promotions now stands at just 32.9% – 5.5 percentage points lower than last year. As a result, offers are becoming a less significant option for shoppers looking to save money. Already taking market share from their branded rivals – and up nearly 5% during the past 12 weeks – own label lines could be among the main beneficiaries of inflationary pressure.”
In terms of the performance of individual retailers, both Lidl and Aldi reached new record high market shares during the past 12 weeks, now accounting collectively for 11.7% of the grocery market. Sales growth of 15.0% made Lidl the fastest growing retailer, increasing its share of the market by 0.5 percentage points to 4.9%. Meanwhile, Aldi grew sales by 14.3%, taking its share to 6.8%. An ongoing programme of store openings by both retailers meant that the two together attracted an additional 1.1 million shoppers over the past three months.
Iceland posted its strongest sales growth since March 2013 – up 9.8% year on year – thanks in large part to the supermarket’s fresh and chilled lines. These products now account for more than a quarter of sales at the retailer, as Iceland moves beyond its traditional focus on just frozen foods.
Fraser McKevitt continues: “Slowing growth rates because of the late Easter meant that Morrisons was the only one of the big four to grow sales over the period: up 0.3% during the past 12 weeks. However, strong performances in produce and chilled convenience weren’t enough to stop Morrisons’ market share slipping by 0.1 percentage points to 10.4%.
“Sales at Tesco were down 0.4% overall, although growth in its own-label Farm Brands remains impressive one year after launch: 64% of Tesco shoppers made a purchase from the line during the past 12 weeks. Despite success in this area, Tesco’s market share fell by 0.5 percentage points to 27.6%. At Asda sales fell by 1.8%, while Sainsbury’s declined by 0.7%.”
Co-op enjoyed its 23rd consecutive period of growth, increasing sales by 0.8% year on year. Meanwhile Waitrose – up by 0.3% – welcomed an even longer run of success. With its market share now standing at 5.1%, the retailer has seen unbroken growth since March 2009, when it held just 4.0% of the grocery market. Both grocers were bolstered by success in premium own label: the Irresistible and Waitrose 1 ranges were the fastest-growing lines within each business during the past 12 weeks.
Clean Eating Pushed Avocados Centrestage For Consumers In 2016
The nation’s bid to be healthy in 2016 helped to push up sales of almond milk, avocados, and new flavours of water last year, according to new retail data released by IRI, the provider of big data and predictive analytics for FMCG manufacturers and retailers.
The company’s Product Growth Categories data for 2016 shows a clear trend towards alternative or healthy products, with almond milk, a non-dairy alternative, topping the list (by percentage growth) with sales of £62 million, up 32% over the previous year. With supermarket sales of £187 million, avocados came third in the list, showing 28% growth over the previous year, followed by fortified water (£55 million) up 25%, and coconut water (£63 million) up 20% over 2015.
2016 also saw strong sales of peanut butter – an industry now worth £80 million to UK retailers – up 20%, and juice smoothies up 17.5% to £154 million.
Martin Wood, Head of Strategic Insight – Retail at IRI, suggests: “2016 was the year of so-called ‘clean eating’ led by a group of lifestyle gurus, food bloggers and Instagrammers who are highly influential among consumers, particularly younger shoppers. It encourages people to eat non-processed foods like fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and protein, and drink lots of water.
“IRI’s figures suggest the trend may have influenced what people put in their shopping baskets, with some products showing exceptional growth in an FMCG market that has been relatively flat over the last 12 months. Usually we see a big uptick in sales of healthy products, like fruit and veg, at the start of each year triggered by New Year resolutions to be more healthy, but this was clearly more sustained growth over most of the year, apart from in the lead up to Christmas when shopping is strongly geared towards buying spirits, wine and other seasonal treats.”
As well as a move away by consumers from what are perceived as less healthy products, like sugary drinks, and growth in vegetarian alternatives, IRI points to new product innovation and improved distribution of products as a significant growth driver for retailers and food and drink manufacturers.
“Retailers are wising up to changing consumer habits and preferences and this is making a big difference in the availability of certain products on supermarket shelves, like dairy alternatives (coconut, almond, rice etc) and foods with plant-based proteins. But retailers are also faced with a dilemma – balancing demand by shoppers for choice and convenience with the need to rationalise product ranges and make the whole shopping experience easier.”
Despite the prominence of healthy and alternative items on the 2016 best seller list, sparkling wine and golden and dark rum also feature in the top 10 of products ranked by growth, while gin, which had a strong year last year in supermarkets, also features in the top 20.