Supermarket Perimeter - December 2020 - 14

All-natural, specialty and premium product
grocer Fresh Thyme Market, based in Phoenix,
has begun using QR-code based technology to
allow shoppers to look up more information about
products while they're shopping in the store.
Premium-product shoppers are more likely
to be interested in knowing what's behind
the labels of the foods and beverages they
purchase and with Fresh Thyme's new QR-codebased system, shoppers will be able to access
videos, images and website links for further
information about individual products.
To launch the new educational system, the
retailer is working with Cornerstone for Natural,
a business management software company
that provides the ELI codes to shelf tags in
the store's Natural Living department.
" By adding ELI Codes to our shelf tags, we will
be helping our shoppers make better informed
buying decisions instore while allowing our
supplier partners to provide digital content to
best present their products to our shoppers, "
said Jonathan Lawrence, Fresh Thyme's senior
director of grocery and natural living.
The new product tags will not only help
customers learn more about the products in
the store, but they can help further educate
store employees so they can better help
shoppers find the products they're looking for.

14 - DECEMBER 2020

Health and wellness driving premium foods
Premium products fall into four main categories, pointed out
Shelley Balanko, senior vice president of Bellevue, Wash.-based The
Hartman Group:
1. Freshness attributes - whether a product is objectively fresh in
terms of perishability or symbolically fresh because of something like
minimal processing.
2. Health and wellness - products that communicate functional or even
emotional supplements fall into this category.
3. Culinary distinction.
4. Transparency and sustainability.
" A food or beverage item doesn't have to have all four attributes,
it just has to connect to at least one of those four key themes to
resonate with a consumer as premium, " Balanko said. " With the
pandemic consumers have certainly had a spotlight on all issues of
health and wellness from a cultural standpoint because we're talking
about a massive public health crisis, but also from an individual
resilience standpoint. Consumers now get that the pandemic is not a
sprint. "
Consumers view healthy eating as somewhat of an insurance policy
for their health, Balanko noted. And if that means paying a little bit
more for a higher-quality, better-for-you item, then it's justified if that
healthier eating saves them from paying off an expensive hospital bill
later in life. She suggested that retailers and suppliers play up to the
investment aspect in marketing premium products.
supermarketperimeter.com

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Fresh Thyme
doubles down on
customer education
with QR codes

That's why it's valuable for retailers to take the right steps in educating
consumers about how they can use premium products in their cooking
and the outcomes they can expect. Market Hall Foods has increased
signage to give customers more product information; presented tasteless
demos to show customers ways to use various items; and used small sample cups with lids for shoppers to take to try safely at home.
Roerink of 210 Analytics has noticed double-digit gains in many
premium products due to shoppers cooking more at home, too.
Lending to that trend is the fact that many millennials have never
cooked more meals at home than they are now, which is quickly driving
experimentation with high-quality ingredients.
Making restaurant-quality meals at home is certainly a lot cheaper
than ordering a meal from a high-end restaurant, Roerink noted. That's
why she suggests that retailers compare their meal kits and value-added
meat and produce to restaurant prices and help guide shoppers to
know how easily they can prepare restaurant-style meals at home.
" It is important for grocers to give consumers the confidence and
tools that they will not be wasting their money, but instead have a great
eating experience and will do it again, " she said.
Melanie Bartelme, a global food analyst for London-based Mintel has
seen that in the last few months, consumers have done a lot of trading
up in products as they eat out less frequently.
" With the trading down of restaurants, people are saving money
there, " Bartelme noted. " So they have more ability to say, 'You know
what? I am home everyday cooking for myself, I really want a nice sauce
or I want a really nice restaurant-style soup,' any restaurant-quality
foods they can get to brighten up their days a bit. They're buying things
that can make their lives feel a little bit more special. "


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