Why the Frozen Veg Shelf Set Still Works

Lakeside Foods' consumer survey also reveals key purchase drivers of vegetable type and value
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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lakeside veg
In a recent consumer survey, Lakeside Foods found that shoppers tend to – and like to shop – by brand at the freezer case.

As consumers turn their carts down the frozen food aisle at the grocery store or click on frozen foods as they built their digital shopping cart, what drivers spur them to put certain products in their basket? That’s what the team at frozen and canned vegetable supplier Lakeside Foods wanted to find out as they sought to identify today’s shopper types and their preferences.

[Read more: "Consumers Buying More Frozen Fruits, Veggies"]

The overall category has been performing well, as the frozen foods industry has done a solid job (no pun intended) of elevating the perceptions of frozen vegetables and as today’s shoppers are increasingly looking for value from private label brands like those that Lakeside Foods serves. “We wanted to get a better understanding of the market – how consumers are looking at frozen vegetables and how we can maximize what we offer,” said Becky Logan, senior brand manager at Lakeside Foods in an interview with Progressive Grocer during the recent Private Label Manufacturers Association trade show in Chicago.

In its research conducted in late summer and early fall of this year, Lakeside determined that consumers are sticking to the basics at the point of sale. “We found that the main purchase drivers are vegetable type and price, and brand falls pretty far down the line,” Logan reported. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of consumers cited vegetable type as an important attribute, follow by price at 45%, package size at 37% and brand at 24%. Only 9% listed an organic choice as their top buying impetus.

That practical focus extends to the way that physical store shoppers browse the category. Interestingly, although vegetable type is the main driver when it comes to selection, shoppers aren’t all that interested in having a freezer display set up that way. “We wanted to understand the shelf set and questioned if the status quo was really the best way to do it, so we did a test in which we flipped things around by vegetable type instead of brand,” she explained. “Across the board, the brand block was preferred, from being the easiest to shop to having the best selection.”

To that point, nearly 85% of consumers agreed that “products are grouped together in a way that makes sense” for the brand block shelf set, compared to 69% who said that arranging by vegetable type made more sense and 75% who indicated that package type, such as bags or boxes, was the most appealing and intuitive. Lakeside's research also showed that consumers equally prefer frozen organic vegetables to be organized with their brand or within an organic section, and 40% want prepared frozen vegetables to be placed with their respective brand.

“I think what’s driving this is the fact that consumers kind of know what they are looking for with veg,” remarked Logan. “And the good news is that retailers – considering that most are set up that way – are doing the right thing and that it’s validated.”

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