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Bright Siding is Here to Stay

Kraft Foods has kept a close watch on the ways shoppers are coping with fewer resources through stages of awareness, anxiety, retrenching and now, bright siding. The current mindset is categorized by confidence, resourcefulness and optimism.

Shoppers are less concerned with material things, and more into spending time with family and friends, according to Laura Barry, vice president of consumer insight and shopper engagement at Kraft. She presented findings at the GMA MSM show today that indicate the attitude isn't fleeting. In fact 61% of consumers agree that the events of the past few months have permanently changed their behaviors.

Shoppers are discovering fun ways to make ends meet. "We had a few crazy meals, but we really saved money," one shopper who engages in a game of "eating down the pantry," or creating as many meals as possible with ingredients already on hand, told Kraft. Its research shows that about 49% of shoppers are doing more of this now than they did three months ago.

It sounds like fun at first, but shopper enthusiasm surely dwindles along with available ingredients. That's why Kraft is making strategic shopping all part of the fun. It's lending a hand by investing in programs that let shoppers know how they can do things like get five dinners from one bag of groceries. "Meal solutions she learns now, she'll take with her," Barry said.

Programs like these are beneficiaries of funds that Kraft has shifted from traditional marketing to shopper marketing. The manufacturer has more than doubled the money spent in this area, zeroing in on programs that are "experiential, differentiated and offer value," noted Barry. It's tailored specific meal idea promotions for retail partners like Publix, Dollar General, Target and Wegmans.

Kraft's emphasis on value is nothing new. Barry related that five or six years ago the manufacturer increased its investment in quality after discovering that some of its products were inferior to branded and/or private label competitors. The investment has "made a huge difference in repeat eats and keeping people loyal to our brand," Barry said.

Although Kraft feels store brand pressure in categories like natural cheese, in the frozen pizza category "retailers haven't been able to beat us," she said.