Communicating with Budget Conscious Shoppers
As communities continue to navigate through the pandemic, a rising number of consumers are concerned about their budgets and how much they are spending on groceries. Retail dietitians can provide guidance to these shoppers while offering solutions for purchasing foods that will deliver the most nutrition for their money. It is important, however, to make sure communications are respectful, positive and meaningful. Below are some recommendations for connecting with budget-minded customers:
- Consider needs – Some households may have limited cooking equipment and culinary skills. Encourage healthy and easy food preparation by sharing information on the basic tools needed for home cooking and how to use them. The need for convenience, familiar flavors and kid-friendly options should also be considerations before offering advice.
- Help customers avoid waste – Most consumers want to avoid throwing away food and reducing food waste is a great way to keep food costs down. Discuss simple meal planning and shopping tips and offer ideas for using canned and frozen foods, along with the proper way to freeze and store leftovers. Suggest meal ideas for using up leftovers such as simple soups, casseroles and lunches.
- Build cooking skills – Create videos to provide basic cooking instructions for affordable meal ideas: How to roast a chicken that can be used in two meals; How to cook dried beans for use in simple plant-forward meals; How to bake with distressed fruit and how to roast veggies for a healthy side dish.
- Integrate store brands – Encourage the use of lower cost, better-for-you store brands. Convenient breakfast foods, pasta, rice, tuna, canned tomatoes/beans and frozen fruits and veggies are great meal-starter staples. Make easy meal assembly suggestions such as a family-sized frozen lasagna with frozen store brand green beans for example.
- Partner with manufacturers – Investigate the resources that may be available from vendor partners to help you with your educational efforts. Nestlé, for example, provides resources for helping consumers prepare budget friendly meals and reduce waste.
- Dispel costly food myths – Help shoppers understand that subtle changes can help them save money and live healthier. Dispel food myths like “nutritious food is more expensive”, “canned and frozen foods are not as healthy as fresh” and that “meal preparation takes too much time.”
- Provide simple meal ideas – Start with a pantry staples list and offer several options for using common pantry items in healthy and tasty meals. For example: five ways to top a baked potato; egg recipes; ideas with canned beans; frozen family meals with quick sides; toppings for a frozen cheese pizza; delicious mixtures with pasta; and more.
- Encourage family meals year-round – The Family Meals Movement™ is now a year-round message and for many good reasons. Eating at home with family is typically less expensive and more nutritious.
- Reach consumers where they are – Look at the best options for providing meal planning education to groups who may be dealing with food budgeting concerns. Local church groups that provide food support to the public may want to link to your resources. In addition, you could partner with a local TV station to create a weekly $10 family meal segment highlighting healthier, budget-friendly meals.