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Getting to know your ‘superconsumers’

Engage with these customers to boost fresh departments and prepared food

Unlike some industries that have come and gone in the face of progress, the food industry will always succeed. People need to eat. But with shifting trends and differing lifestyles, the manner in which people seek out food is changing. Gone are the days of consumers purchasing all of their food at supermarkets and preparing the majority of their meals at home. Individuals are not only eating more and more food that has already been prepared, they’re also embarking on missions to fulfill dayparts in their busy schedules.

Individuals within this shopper group that exhibit those and other traits are what the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) calls “superconsumers.”

What is a superconsumer?

As defined by IDDBA, superconsumers are shoppers who are heavy users of products that they are passionate about. They conduct missions to seek out these products, and they are willing to spend more on specific food items than the average shopper. “Missions” are a vital piece of the superconsumer mindset, and this factor plays an even more important role when you look at it in terms of how grocers can learn from these foodservice missions. To ensure your stores adequately engage with these consumers, it’s critical to focus on:

• Offering the products they seek;
• Staging these products so that they’re easy for them to find, both in store and online;
• Delivering creative flavors, tastes and takes on the product; and
• Placing a high priority on convenience, so that consumers can quickly and easily find what they’re searching for. In short, making their lives easier.

Supermarkets have the advantage over most other foodservice channels in that they already provide all of the aforementioned requirements of the superconsumer. But just having what superconsumers seek (or the ability to offer it) won’t necessarily translate into sales. It’s important to have an understanding of the mindset of these shoppers when they visit your stores.

How to engage superconsumers

To understand their potential impact on sales in a store’s fresh departments, let’s look at the shopping patterns of a bagel superconsumer. Sixty-three percent of U.S. households eat bagels, which equates to almost 80 million households. That’s a sizable percentage of our country’s total population. And the manner in which superconsumers seek out bagels creates unique opportunities for retailers to engage them, such as:

Group buys. Provide options for bulk purchases in easy-to-carry packaging to connect with superconsumers looking to provide breakfast for a work or social event.
Snacking. Position bagels as a snacking option for on-the-run superconsumers looking for a fresh, quick, and convenient meal.
Café ambiance. Create an atmosphere where superconsumers can enjoy a bagel or sandwich in a comfortable, clean, and quiet spot.
Quality and authenticity. Be known as a source of quality and authentic bagels that consumers will purchase repeatedly.

It takes more than just to provide “mission” opportunities to attract superconsumers to your stores. A focused and targeted marketing campaign — both in-store and through external channels such as social media — are vital in informing these individuals that your stores are true destinations for the types of products they seek, for any daypart meal opportunity or occasion.

In today’s challenging food landscape, knowing the mindset of your consumers and their shopping habits can help establish and maintain your stores’ position as their go-to destination for the food items they seek. Knowledge is key to accomplishing this.

To learn more about superconsumers and their buying and spending habits, access IDDBA’s latest research at

Mike Eardley is president and CEOs of the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA).

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