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The Crunch Diet Qualitative insights 1 FDIN Seminar March 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "The Crunch Diet Qualitative insights 1 FDIN Seminar March 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Crunch Diet Qualitative insights 1 FDIN Seminar March 2009

2 Lesley Thompson Founded Changes in 1997 Qualitative research-based consultancy Particular interests in food, retail, health and wellbeing in context of cultural trends Broad previous experience Head of qualitative unit at The Research Business Advertising agencies and client company marketing, as well as qual and quant research agency experience Wide range of food, drink and retail clients over time FDIN Seminar June 2008 2

3 Background Presented at FDIN Seminar in June 2008 Responses to food price rises and economic uncertainty Post Northern Rock, rumbles of credit crunch but pre-Lehman collapse Based on own recent qualitative work then Then now (March 2009) Shocking, unpredictable series of economic events, cultural climate changing very fast and in jolts This paper Collaborative approach - my recent work plus interviews with: 15 great qualitative researchers - their recent projects and observations (respecting client confidentiality) Management consultant to food industry and 3 senior marketeers Distillation of what many hundreds of participants have revealed in recent qualitative studies 3 FDIN Seminar March 2009

4 What comes next…? "The wise man knows he doesn't know. The fool doesn't know he doesn't know" (Lao Tzu) FDIN Seminar March 2009 4 There are no experts, this is uncharted territory It's hard to know what to do when nobody else - including the Government - seems to know No matter who you talk to, nobody knows whats going to happen

5 Projected economic & social scenarios Range of views across researchers/marketing participants Most optimistic Serious downturn Bank nationalisations Government interventions Unemployment But will stabilise, turn up again May take 18 months + before cautious growth resumes FDIN Seminar March 2009 5 Most serious Disconnect from everything weve known Depression, 1930s closest comparison Social unrest: Crime increases Vigilantes, retribution Union activity, protectionism, anti-foreign Flash-mobs, riots Continued ecology scares Rethink meaning of capitalism, zero growth economies the norm? Majority leaning towards:

6 FDIN Seminar March 2009 6 2009/10?1930s

7 Why the potential disconnect? Previous recessions less all-pervasive Confined to industry types, regions, social classes The crunch shows signs of respecting virtually no-one Problems across classes, industries - even public sector invested in e.g. bank shares now cost-cutting Not contained within the UK - global, out of our control Banking and stock market problems unprecedented Thought inconceivable that banks could fail - my money unsafe Pensions and stock-related investments eroding day by day No longer preserve of the wealthy - many small shareholders/windfalls + more have personal pensions And 24:7 media reporting, Robert Peston effect FDIN Seminar March 2009 7 Fear

8 Consumer concerns and priorities June 2008 Food price rises Utilities and petrol price rises and maybe Vague rumblings of economic uncertainty Northern Rock nationalised US sub-prime? Credit crunch? Rising unemployment? Greedy supermarkets/banks March 2009 Economic catastrophe stories, sensationalist coverage Shocking twists e.g. Ponzi schemes, Freds pension Unemployment worries or reality Signifiers abound e.g. empty shops and Food prices still high (but stabilising and lots of offers) Petrol prices fallen, utilities to follow? (direct debits artificially high) FDIN Seminar March 2009 8

9 Reality vs. fear Some are better off! Reasonably secure job Wealthy retired, substantial fixed annuity returns Mortgage tracker, much lower repayments Savings not share-reliant Lots of offers - cars, furniture, clothes, holidays as well as food Negatively affected if any/ many of: Lost job or real fears of cutbacks Family/friends already affected, need support Reliant on investment income Savers being punished Share-based pension Close to retirement Self employed, work sporadic Need to sell property FDIN Seminar March 2009 9 All living in fear-laden climate

10 Responses to the climate Enjoy quietly, embarrassed to display vs. Fed up with needing to be seen to be thrifty, when will it end?! Prudent cutting back, sense of control vs. Occasional treat, throw caution to winds FDIN Seminar March 2009 10 Better off, bargains to be had Ok for the moment Real, justified fears Already in difficulty Little change vs. Making economies as insurance Some treats Having to cut back plus Some anger, betrayal - many never had money worries before Many are practising in case things get worse Some feelings of relief - self-identity was too reliant on stuff, buying stuff with hypothetical money is cause of global crunch

11 The crunch diet We are going on financial and emotional (as well as food) diets Businesses: review/control outgoings, freeze wages, shorter hours, shed staff Personal money: Defer big items like replace car and booking holiday; kids on wait list for state schools; cancel gym and cleaner Every little helps: longer between haircuts and dry cleaning; few new clothes - actual/claimed Topshop & charity shops; reduce charitable giving Shopping generally: bargain seek, scour internet for vouchers and offers Emotionally: Thriftiness as virtue, learning to mend and reuse - aligns with eco-trends, minimising waste, feeling green Necessity for some, starts to pall quickly Catharsis and liberation for others vs. can rebel against smugness and effort of it all, want to break out…. Current sense of novelty for many - may be replaced by real hardship, emotional and mental problems FDIN Seminar March 2009 11

12 Three broad needs drive the crunch diet Not mutually exclusive - a web of inter-connections that are semi or sub- consciously traded off in decision making FDIN Seminar March 2009 12 Value Comfort Grounding

13 Three broad needs: value Actual prices Price/quality/other trade-offs Being seen to be conscious of value practising at it just in case having to be Examples Emailing vouchers to friends/colleagues, price comparison and reward sites Designer clothes in unbranded bags Is it on offer? initial screening Choose groceries within offers Eat out only where vouchers/deals Reduce discretionary e.g. smoothies, luxury skincare Experiment with Aldi, Waitrose Essentials Trade down from organic chicken to free-range - still doing my bit for welfare Totting up cost of basket as shop, ceiling for total Following guy with reduced stickers in store FDIN Seminar March 2009 13 Value Comfort Grounding

14 Three broad needs: comfort Consolation and escape from unremitting gloom Often small/affordable - even more important now few big treats Or discreet/hidden Or f**k it Examples Escapism: Mamma Mia DVD Cadbury chocolate and vintage wines sales increase Nostalgia for golden past: Lark Rise, iconic brands - Hovis, Arctic Roll, Birds Custard Buy top end/luxury food brands rather than going out to eat Dine in for £10 promos Carbs as comfort food Takeaway as treat FDIN Seminar March 2009 14 Value Comfort Grounding

15 Three broad needs: grounding Partially backlash against frenzied consumption Also control what you can in face of frightening world Focus on humanity - home, family, friends, community, environment - all in this together Co-op ad captures the mood (Can again be a slight pose, being seen to care) Examples Getting pregnant (+ avoid losing job) Upsurge in teacher training applications Helping friends who have lost jobs e.g. with childcare Networking, collaborating Running, cycling instead of gym Growing own, shopping local, less wastage, scratch cooking Child pressure via schools - cooking taught again, be green, dig, recycle, Fairtrade FDIN Seminar March 2009 15 Value Comfort Grounding

16 Examples of attitudes and behaviour Shopping, cooking, eating out By lifestage FDIN Seminar March 2009 16

17 Grocery shopping Very well documented Trading down to lower status retailer … plus to and within own brand ranges Polarisation: cheap where can get away with it + some (affordable) premium treats Shop more frequently but smaller volumes - less wastage, better value Buy non-food elsewhere e.g. cleaning products, crisps, coffee from £ shop, Wilkinsons Cherry-pick generally - pick up bargains as seen Use local shops, markets, farm shops/markets Trying the discounters Dabble - revert to previous (all supermarkets more aggressive on price) Stay - discounters stocking more known brands + treats e.g. smoked salmon, chocolate, ice cream FDIN Seminar March 2009 17

18 Cooking Convenience meals claimed less popular, fresh ingredients and scratch cooking increasing Plus cooking aids - stock, cooking sauces Scratch has multiple meanings Raw ingredients and leftovers - can be a return to old skills or entirely new learning Complex recipes simple just add sauce Many need help e.g. Jamie recipe cards feed four for £5 (and new Battersea shop and school?) Aware that cooking fresh ingredients healthier But can get discouraged (difficult, adds up expensively), bulk cheap carbs on offer for freezer and microwave FDIN Seminar March 2009 18

19 FDIN Seminar March 2009 19 Maybe too upmarket in feel for people who might benefit most? Or a great initiative?

20 Eating out Trading down from previous start point Eat out less frequently (but appreciate more) Fine dining offer on toptable, Zizzi + coupon Pizza meal out top range supermarket/ branded pizzas at home TGIs McDonalds Theatre + meal out cinema + drink Cinema takeaway and Sky Movies Go out less frequently Friends for supper, each do a course Drink together at someone's home Drink less in pub/club session (less on-trade snacks and cigarettes) Takeaway as treat, a rest from all this thrift! and The return of the lunchbox - make sandwiches, use leftovers FDIN Seminar March 2009 20

21 Lifestages Pre-kids Never known recession as adults Some embrace novelty, enjoy new austerity Many very frightened: Few graduate jobs No experience of job losses Generation of adult children who go back to parents when trouble hits - been infantilised? Or drop out, disenfranchised Mums Protective of kids, family status quo - fear loss of own/husbands jobs and house See other husbands on school run Scared of denying kids their favourites Kids usually quite adaptable, can get into cooking etc. Older have memories of previous downturn More upmarket can get competitive: be seen as green/thrifty FDIN Seminar March 2009 21 Older/emptying Seen previous recessions, familiar, will survive vs. Pension and savings fears, much worse than anything before Remember tales of 1930s from own parents Very scared for own adult children - if come home for help = more pressure

22 Pen portraits Four examples follow Look for the big themes FDIN Seminar March 2009 22 Value Comfort Grounding

23 Pre-kids example Single woman, 30s Recently redundant - financial services management Job-hunting in different sectors, drawn to not-for-profit Feels partially scared, loss of identity via job - but also partially liberated Lots of friends still in jobs are cutting back anyway - so at least not alone in this Still goes to Sainsbury Has tried Iceland Chooses from whats on offer first - especially 2 for 1 and when online Takes coffee in a flask sometimes when out, cheaper than Starbucks Eats out still but where theres an offer, friends all research online Have drinks at someone's house before going out for evening Cinema but no associated meal FDIN Seminar March 2009 23

24 Male example Male, 30s/40s Self-employed plumber Last year was busy full time installing new bathrooms - too much work, passed to others Recent week: 3 small maintenance jobs only, hour or so each Has HGV licence, trying to get driving work to supplement income but that is also scarce Stopped going out to the pub on Friday night Stopped buying alcohol to drink at home Still sometimes goes to pub at lunchtime but for networking One pint only Meets work mates, lots of them free, try to help each other Needs new shoes but putting off buying FDIN Seminar March 2009 24

25 Family/emptying example Mum, 40s Hairdresser, married, one child left, one working and still at home Secure housing association home Own job and husbands OK so far But still feeling pressure to cut back…. Cooking more from scratch Used to buy everything at Sainsbury, now a series of trips Asda once a month for big shop Cherry-picks cleaning stuff, veg etc. from £ shops, market on way home Sainsbury for some food but: Trying Basics - used to buy middling ranges Cheaper cuts of meat Look for offers first and foremost, plan menus around this FDIN Seminar March 2009 25

26 Retired example Couple, 70s Own home Hit by pensions fiasco a few years ago and now this…. Holiday place in Italy Euro fears, usually go for a few months, very expensive now Say they are bunkering down Staying at home - their castle Bought big TV = cheaper long term than going out Cutting down all round - CDs, books, going out, more luxurious foods See selves as urban pioneers - have time to seek out new ways to combat the crunch Experimenting with lower status own brand, would never have considered it before Had health scares, on fairly strict diet More scratch/fresh food ideally But can be expensive FDIN Seminar March 2009 26

27 NPD Your market These themes, particularly ideas that align two or more Think creatively and collaboratively FDIN Seminar March 2009 27 Value Comfort Grounding

28 Gratitude to the contributors Qualitative researchers Graham Claire Chloe Ed Roddy Janet Kiddle Mary Alex Maddy Sarah Anne Marie Philippa Vera Tracey Food industry management consultant Harriet Rhys Plus a few deep throats who also helped greatly and wish to remain anonymous FDIN Seminar March 2009 28

29 Thank you

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