Healthy diets and plastic fear drive new shopper behaviour

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Plastic pollution, healthy eating, responsible retailing and social media are among the key drivers of change that retailers are going to have to get to grips with in order to please the modern shopper, HIM suggests in its latest report, The Future of Convenience.

According to HIM, 70% of consumers say they are trying to reduce single-use plastic, and shoppers who actively avoid buying food products with excess plastic packaging are 10% more likely to spend more than £40 in retail than those who aren’t similarly motivated.

Younger shoppers in particular are more aware of the issue, with 50% of 25-34 year olds actively seeking information on plastic pollution, compared to 19% of 55-64 year-olds. Research also shows consumers would like to see wider use of compostable packaging, use of local shops as recycling hubs and small pack sizes, such as loose fruit and vegetables and refillable products where consumers bring their own packaging.

While vegetarianism and veganism are not new trends, the rise of veganism is accelerating, notes the study, with 3.5 million Brits now identifying as vegan. One in 10 consumers are now following a dairy-free or gluten-free diet. With as many as 45% of shoppers saying they are trying to improve their health through their diet, it is more important than ever that retailers off healthy options, HIM concludes.

Product categories that are expected to grow significantly next year include premium savoury snacks, organic fruit and vegetables, world foods, superfoods and local, seasonal products, as retailers strive to strike the right balance between core ranges and specialisation.

Business transparency, accountability and proper compliance with new legislation are becoming increasingly important to modern shoppers, who want local retailers to do more to make a positive contribution to society. A positive staff culture and customer service are also going to be key measures going forward, says the report, as shoppers who rate staff friendliness/helpfulness as “very important” spend an average of 19% more on their convenience shopping baskets.

A further key challenge for bricks-and-mortar retailers to tackle is social media shopping, the report adds, with 94% of under-45s using some form of social media, and 64% of consumers believing that shopping online is easier than going to physical shops.

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