headline press information

Date 3rd December 2012 / www.procarton.com
Title The rise of new values
Text A brand new study by UK retailer Sainsbury's clearly shows: despite austerity measures, consumers are not willing to sacrifice sustainability and expect appropriate solutions from trade and industry. The study outlines five new consumer trends which all have one thing in common: they strengthen the role of packaging, especially that of cartons. For download in print quality, please click on the photo.

Since launching its 20x20 Sustainability Plan one year ago Sainsbury's has observed marked and lasting changes in British shopping habits. To discover more, they commissioned the market research institute Mintel to analyse customer behaviour and report their findings. At the same time, Sainsbury's took a close look at the sales statistics of its 22 million customers to find out what people are putting in their shopping baskets.


The study "The rise of new-fashioned values: Changes in consumer behaviour in the post-crunch shopping era" was conducted during the summer of 2012 and presented on 21 November. The results came unexpected for many: Rather than seeing economic constraints cause a cut back in values, an increased appetite for them can be observed. By having to put more thought into what they buy, consumers are taking a greater – not lesser – account of what personally matters to them. They want trustworthy, good value products and services that also encompass quality and sustainability.


Judith Batchelar, Director, Sainsbury's Brand: "By having to make considered choices, people are rediscovering the shopping and cooking habits of previous generations. Whether they are adapting by planning weekly meals, being creative with leftovers, or preparing more packed lunches, they are finding a new sense of satisfaction and pleasure from being savvy shoppers. And while more people than ever choose bargains and basic products for everyday meals, they are also enjoying the sense of deferred indulgence that comes from saving up and splashing out on special occasions."


The 'new-fashioned' consumer wants help to do the right thing and for this to be a part of everyday life in a way that is simple and easy. They want complex questions resolved on their behalf, so they pay a fair price for quality products. And they refute the idea that values have to cost the earth or sit in a special price bracket.


Five characteristic trends:


1 Savvy sustainability

Consumers are readjusting how they spend their household budget, and while shoppers are willing to save on everyday products, they are also showing a growing tendency to 'save and splash out' on treats or for special occasions. While shoppers are shrewder, they are still willing to spend more on special occasions such as Christmas, Valentine's Day and Halloween.


Although people may have less disposable income, they still want to live well. Some 22 per cent of respondents say that rather than go to a restaurant, they treat themselves to indulgent food at home because it's cheaper, often choosing from premium retailer ranges.


However, whether buying from basics or premium ranges, customers still want to feel good about what they buy. Besides value for money, they want products that offer integrity. People say they want ethical and responsible sourcing to be part of a supermarkets' mainstream offer, not something reserved for premium lines.


2 Values re-evaluated

The evidence suggests that one of the positive results of straightened times is a genuine deepening of values. The credit crunch has not led to a values crunch and customers do not accept that an economic downturn is justification for abandoning issues such as high animal welfare, Fairtrade or sustainability, even in economy products.


Sainsbury's sales data confirms these views. Despite shoppers being more sensitive to price, they have sold 8.5 per cent more sustainably sourced food in the last 12 months. And the number of customers making these sustainable choices has increased five per cent.


It is a misconception these issues concern only shoppers with plenty of money in their pocket. Just because people have less, they do not care less. More than £1 in every £10 spent on our sustainably-labelled products comes from families on the lowest incomes.


3 Act for me

People have greater, more exacting expectations of companies. They have less time, but more questions. They probe further for answers and, largely through digital media and social networks, are far better informed than ever before.


Consumers want retailers they can trust; ones who confront, champion and successfully deal with difficult questions or issues on their behalf. Shoppers will naturally gravitate to retailers that tackle issues they care about. If they feel a company 'acts for me' they believe their shopping choices are simpler and easier. And they will continue to choose brands from companies that show they are willing to listen.


4 Healthwise

We aspire to lead healthier, fuller lives. Yet modern family life isn't simply busy, it's hectic. Parents juggle the demands of work while running a household, meaning meals are often eaten at different times by family members. Then there are school runs, and clubs, leisure pursuits and social engagements to fit in. All of which make it ever more challenging for parents to ensure that the nutritional needs of their families are being met.


Health is now a mainstream consumer issue, although people are often seeking 'healthier' rather than the 'healthiest' options. People want simple, affordable and time-sensitive choices that are still rewarding and satisfying. Consumers' responses to Sainsbury's campaigns that combine healthy eating with ways to manage household budgets are proof that the modern shopper wants not only good value, but also healthy and ethical choices.


5 Close to me

People are also reconsidering what matters to them. While there is nostalgia for simpler times, marked by the increasing popularity in home-crafts such as baking and sewing, people are also placing greater value on their communities. There is a sense that, while global issues have become increasing complex and difficult, people are placing greater importance on local matters, because doing so gives them a greater sense of control and trust. They place a higher value on what touches them and the lives of their family, friends and community.


Customers are showing more interest than ever in supporting charities and community causes. In difficult times, we are getting record levels of donations. But more than raising cash, people are becoming active participants in local issues – as individuals they are placing greater importance on being a good neighbour, and have the same expectations of the businesses with which they deal to do the same, both locally and nationally.


Research and sales statistics also show the 'new-fashioned values' of the post-crunch shopper are here to stay. These are distinct and permanent changes in behaviour, and retailers need to respond accordingly. They must meet the demands of consumers who are increasingly skilled at managing the family budget, and believe that good value, quality and sustainability are part of the new economy.


The role of packaging

The new trends favour packaging, in specific carton packaging. For one, packaging is the ideal information medium for communicating messages about the product and brand at the Point of Sale - as was recently confirmed in the new study by Pro Carton.


It has been known for some time that cartons are the packaging of choice for promoting the high quality of products. But, above all, carton exemplifies confidence in a positive future as it can be recycled to 100 per cent and can even be disposed of without problems after several recycling runs. For this reason it is preferred by consumers in terms of sustainability.



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Sainsbury's Christmas Pudding
Sainsbury's Christmas Pudding.
Sainsbury's – Most Sustainable Retailer of the Year, 2012 Retail Industry Award.



Suzanne McEwen +43 1 218 6918 mcewen@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.