As we tally up our numbers and close the books on 2007 one things is clear, increasing commodity prices and decreasing consumer confidence have impacted our consumers as much as they impacted us. If your brand is a value player then you may have seen a bump in sales even as your bottom line has been getting squeezed. If you are a mid-range or premium brand you probably felt the pinch on the top line as well as the bottom line as your loyal consumers become more conservative in their shopping habits and trade down to the value brands.
So is there anything you can do with your recipe marketing plan to help stop this trend? Absolutely! No consumer wants to trade down. As a general rule you can bank on the fact that we consumers don't like denying ourselves our favorite foods even when money is tight. Your consumer needs for you to show her how she can affordable incorporate that indulgent product back into her families normal eating routine. This is a great time to offer what I like to call "stretch recipes". "Stretch recipes" use several ingredients to stretch the more expensive ingredient into more servings. For example let's say you are selling a premium refrigerated pasta product and you find that consumers who were purchasing your tortellini for a center of the plate entree are now trading down to a more affordable dry tortellini. You could feature a recipe campaign that focus on side dish applications for your product. The same package of product then goes from serving 2 main dishes to 4 side dishes. If the recipes incorporates some vegetables or other ingredients then the dish feels substantial and mom gets to feel good about serving this affordable indulgence to her family again. Don't worry, when consumer confidence picks up and the purse strings loosen up again you can go back to steering consumers towards center of the plate applications that incorporate more of your delicious product in each serving.