innovation - collaboration - motivation - activation
Dr. Matilda Freund

Q&A on Shopper Insights

With Laura Barry, VP, Consumer Insights & Shopper Engagement, Kraft Foods, Inc.

One thing that we're seeing in blogs is consumers sharing information on good deals within a particular area. They're actually sharing their buying tips and helping each other out.

Specific customers have told us that the sales in the first week of the month swell, to replenish inventory, especially on the staples — and we've seen this also in the Nielsen data. It's much more the first week of the month versus the last week of the month where product sizes and quantities go down because the budget is hard to manage, and pantry inventory depletes.

SN: Has Kraft come up with new meal solutions or new products to address this new shopping behavior?

Barry: Consumers are telling us what they need, and we're creating solutions for them. In addition to the Food and Family magazine where we publish "50 Great Ways to Save Money, Time and Energy," we also have Food and Family online which gives consumers better-for-your solutions on how to create lunch and dinner solutions for the family. We're sending those recipes out to our consumers.

We have also doubled our investment in shopper marketing programs the past year. We are working with our retailers to help them become more marketing savvy at the point of purchase to present value in the store that's differentiated for them.

We've developed customized programs with our customers. We're presenting retailers things like simple dinner solutions, and linking with their online community, which also links to, which has these recipes and suggestions.

One promotion we've had is "One bag, five dinners" which is huge because you can say that for one bag of groceries, we're going to help you make five dinners for the work week. Dining in makes sense. These are people who would go out for fast food two or three times a week, or go to a sit-down dinner because they're stressed and they don't have time to prepare extravagant meals. Usually our recipes have three easy steps to them. They give people ideas.

SN: You're now spending more on your shopper marketing initiatives. Have you been shifting your money from more traditional marketing programs to fund these efforts, or have you expanded your overall budget?

Barry: Some of the money has been incremental, some has come out of less efficient trade dollars, and some from traditional marketing. Our overall marketing budget is definitely up. The return on our investment — in most cases — has been over 100% in terms of these incremental activities at the store. It drives greater profitability than even traditional trade.

SN: How long ago did your shopper marketing efforts take off?

Barry: They've always existed, but I would say that they really took off in the past year and a half. We now have our marketing calendar laid out for our top customers for next year. It could be a back-to-school program, giving back, multicultural, holiday programs, meal solutions, or a sandwich program. We also tie into a retailer's programs such as a frozen food month or a dairy month, expanding their programs as well.

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