June 29, 2006

Supermarket Consumers

My interest in advertising cookbooks often leads me consider other aspects of consumer advertising and marketing by the food companies. I like to read about consumer behavior, supermarkets and shopping trends and the subtle marketing methods they use to get us to buy what they have to sell.

Right now I'm reading Everybody Eats: Supermarket Consumers in the 1990s, which is a book about supermarket shoppers and the factors that influence their food buying decisions. The book is written for the benefit of "retailers and manufacturers who don't want to fall behind in today's intensely competetive, overcrowded grocery industry."

Everybody knows that the milk and bread aisles are located far from the front door so that we have to walk all the way across the store to get to what we want. Chances are good we'll pick up some extras along the way.

But here's something I never thought about before--evidently it's no accident that the baby products are on the opposite side of the store from the pharmacy, the boxes of Depends and the cans of Ensure.

This is from a section called Everything Young is Old Again:

"Some of the newest products to be pitched to older people are "grown up" versions of goods usually found in the baby-food aisle. The implication that people go full circle and return to their infancy in their old age is a frightening prospect, and marketers must be careful to walk the fine line between the two product classes with diplomacy and sensitivity."

"As more products are developed to suit the needs of the aging baby boomer generation, "mature boutiques" may find their way into the foods stores--one-stop shopping for older customers to get all of the specialized items they need. Presumably these departments could be positioned away from the baby products aisle so that the products needed to ease boomers' second childhood are far away from those that evoke memories of their first."

Don't they just think of everything?


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