Fresh Food Ads Declined in 2011

WEST DUNDEE, Ill. — Supermarkets may be promoting fresh foods less often and less aggressively in an effort to manage their margins as food input costs rise, according to an analysis of circular ad counts conducted by the Perishables Group here.

Circular ad counts declined in all fresh food departments except the bakery during the 52 weeks ending Sept. 24, 2011, the consulting group writes in this year’s final installment of its newsletter series examining how the fresh food marketplace is changing consumers’ value propositions.

The shift was most pronounced in meat departments, where beef, pork and, to a lesser extent, chicken all faced significant food price inflation this year. Circular ad counts in meat departments were down 6.5% compared with the same period a year earlier. Ad activity was down 2.8% in deli departments and 2.5% in seafood departments. And, counts were flat in produce and bakery departments, which saw a 0.3% increase and a 0.4% drop, respectively.

The Perishables Group predicted that ads for fresh foods would increase next year as price inflation eases.