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CEO Mark Artus talks to the BBC about the future for food brands

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During the coronavirus pandemic, eating habits have had to change.

Retailers and food brands will have been watching closely for changes in purchasing behaviour – and looking to match that data with shifts in consumer attitudes. They will want to understand whether those changes will stick or whether normal service will resume once the immediate crisis of lockdown has passed. 

1HQ CEO Mark Artus, spoke to BBC Business about the potential long-term prospects for foods that are doing well during lockdown. 

For those which have benefited from a sudden spike in sales – and perhaps a moment of positive re-discovery – the challenge will be to double-down on the opportunity and retain the new consumers they have attracted. That will mean staying active, relevant and pushing hard on a message of quality and value. There will also be a focus on best-sellers to ensure that these really key products are in-stock.

Conversely, it’s likely we’ll see some peripheral lines cut. As well as what we’ve been buying, it’s also true that, for some, there will have been changes to the way they shop – particularly exposure to on-line. It remains to be seen whether this will lead to a structural shift towards more home delivery.

For some it will have been a revelation and they may be wondering why they ever went to a supermarket. For others the stress of securing delivery slots and need for carefully planned shopping lists will have been a reminder of the pleasures of browsing the aisles. One thing we can be sure of is that recession looms.

This begs the question whether we’ll see traditional supermarkets refocus on Everyday Low Prices to compete more aggressively with one another and the discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. Latest figures published 16th June show reductions in the number of  individual brand promotions from pre-Covid-19 levels by over a third in Tesco, nearly a quarter in Asda, 14% in Sainsbury’s and 12% in Morrisons.

If this trend continues, there may be fewer opportunities to ‘surprise and delight shoppers’ in-store, reducing further the differentiation between the traditional supermarkets beyond convenience and price; and increasing the move towards on-line grocery purchasing and the discounters.

You can read the full article here

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