Low-income shoppers need help and education stretching their food dollars, especially at the end of the month, Sue Klug, SVP and CMO for Unified Grocers, Los Angeles, told a workshop audience Monday at the annual convention of the National Grocers Association in Las Vegas.
"Stretching their food dollars before the net SNAP benefits check means survival for them, so it's important for retailers to help those shoppers make good decisions by offering to educate them on how to make better, healthier choices for their families about how to feed a large family for just $5."
According to Ron Rehkopf, president and CEO of Rehkopf Family Foods, Texarkana, Ark., retailers risk losing regular gross profit dollars if they gear their end-of-month programs to low-income customers.
"SNAP customers are just part of your customer base," he said, "and you need to be careful because if you merchandise only to them at the end of the month, when they have little money left, then you're giving up gross profits to your cash customers and your volume will drop. What we do is run programs throughout the month that meet the needs of all our customers."
Steve Henig, VP, corporate merchandising and marketing, for Wakefern Food Corp., Keasbey, N.J., said the cooperative looks at data at the corporate level to determine what needs to be done at the end of a month compared with the beginning. "It's critical to look at the business without bias," he pointed out.
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