Consumer Frugality to Continue Throughout Year, Flavor Study Says

Venture Planning Group’s Food Flavors and Ingredients Outlook 2012 predicts that consumer frugality will continue as the economic picture for the year appears muted at best.

“Feeling the squeeze, both the employed and out-of-work will continue to practice the frugal behaviors adopted during the Great Recession of 2008, while also attempting to incorporate healthy food choices into their daily routines,” the recent market research report indicated.

Seeking to overcome the boredom of extended frugality, consumers will especially value creative attempts by manufacturers, retailers, and food service operators to affordably introduce variety, comfort and indulgence to their taste experiences, the report added.

Consumers, the report said, are doing more shopping at bulk food stores and dollar stores as well as reducing purchases and trading down to less expensive private label brands. Also, 2012 is likely to see continued paycheck-cycle shopping, whereby consumers buy large quantities right after getting paid, and then switch to buying smaller package sizes as money starts to run out.

“The coming year will see more food manufacturers and retailers targeting the growing numbers of high and low-end consumers instead of focusing on the shrinking middle class,"  the study said. "Much of this is the result of shrinking budgets of the former middle class, now planting them squarely in the group of low income consumers.” The report adds, “spending on kids, typically resilient during recessions, has been showing signs of declining.”

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