Looking for a great deal?
Get ALL THREE of our new thank-you gifts when you donate $120.
This is a limited time offer – so act soon!
The food business is in transition, with mega-brands such as Kraft, General Mills and Campbell Soup struggling to hold on to market share at mainstream grocery stores. Shoppers are increasingly gravitating up-market to gourmet “fresh format” stores, and down-market to booming discount chains such as Dollar Tree and Dollar General.
It’s in the latter category that these companies see the most potential for growth as low-income, immigrant and young shoppers look for deep bargains in the post-recession economy.
For instance, Kraft’s Velveeta individual cheese-sauce servings haven’t been selling well in traditional groceries. But the company decided not to pull them from the market because they do extremely well in discount dollar-stores because of their low price-point.
“The growth in the industry is really in dollar- and limited-assortment stores,” says Jim Hertel at grocery consultancy Willard Bishop. “And it’s in more upscale types of food retailers, like Whole Foods.”
Kraft’s flagship brands — like Oscar Mayer, Kool Aid, Maxwell House and Velveeta — aren’t likely to be taken up by upscale consumers. Velveeta is perfect for penetrating the discount-food market, says Michael Stern, co-author of the Roadfood.com books about American vernacular cuisine and a regular commentator on public radio’s ‘The Splendid Table.”
“It’s cheap, and it’s very easy,” Stern says. “I always have Velveeta in my refrigerator. A cheeseburger is not a cheeseburger without Velveeta. It’s so glossy, so smooth.”
“Cheap” and “easy” are two qualities that Hertel says consumers put a premium on when filling their shopping carts at discount stores.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.