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The Hartman Group is out with a new report about low income shoppers and their relationship to diet, health and nutrition, concluding that while they have the same aspirations as higher income consumers in terms of eating, cooking and wellness, they are “more likely to view their diet and health as diminished relative to other consumers.”

Some excerpts:

• “They do not see themselves eating as well as the average American in terms of health, freshness, quality, or variety. They’re also more likely to perceive themselves as less healthy, especially on a range of mental health factors related to stress, relaxation, and balance.”

• “Low-income shoppers are as likely to cook as higher-income folks, but their tight budgets preclude risk taking. They opt more often for whatever is easiest and cheapest and are less likely to prioritize nutrition.”

• “Low-income consumers feel more barriers between them and their aspirations — especially affordability and access. These barriers tend to be external and therefore potentially amenable to companies that may have solutions.”
KC's View:
To me, it is this last sentence that strikes me as a call to action - if provided with the opportunity to buy and eat healthier foods within their budget restrictions, many low income people will take advantage of it. But they are waiting for help, which can be provided by the savvy retailer and/or supplier.

Imagine being the company that helps people achieve their aspirations. That’s a pretty good basis for a long-term relationship.

Bt the way, there was another passage in the study that caught me up short:

Federal definitions of “low income” actually cover the majority of American consumers and include consumers one might otherwise consider “middle class” — those making around or just under 400% of the poverty level. This fact points to a large population size of consumers — many of whom are not typically understood as “low income” — who face financial difficulties in affording everyday expenses, including food and beverage.

In other words, there may be a bigger audience for this approach than one might think … and when the next recession inevitably comes, probably sooner rather than later, it’ll get bigger still.