The latest consumer fashion is GI - glycaemic index - and it’s going to be big in 2005, says one research specialist

Although some things don’t change in terms of shopper behaviour - for example, three of every four decisions being made in-store - consumers do like to go with the latest fashion. In 2005 that’s going to be the Glycaemic Index, says ID Magasin’s chairman Siemon Scamell-Katz.
“Consumers and producers are going to start embracing GI and using it. We don’t think it’s a fad. It’s more holistic than Atkins and we think the government will eventually latch on to it,” he says.
Tesco’s recent initiative using GI information on products and on-shelf, with Sainsbury close on its heels, suggests that it can become a “communications system”.
Scamell-Katz adds: “This has all been brought about by the obesity debate. Data suggests that the negative way smoking is looked at today will be the same way people who are obese will be looked at in a few years’ time.”
GI works by rating foods on a sliding scale of up to 100 according to the type of carbohydrates, including sugar, they contain, with the slow-releasing sugars given a lower rating than the fast-releasing ones.
Scamell-Katz says: “GI has celebrity endorsement from Steve Redgrave. Coverage has been very positive for the whole idea and 2005 is going to see a lot going on with it. We think GI has got legs.”
UBUK has already introduced a numbered rating system on KP impulse snacks called ‘123 for a healthy balance’. Paul Graham, trading director for
impulse, says: “The new back-of-pack communication is aimed at putting snacking into context, reinforcing the principle that snacks and biscuits can be eaten as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.”
Meanwhile, research shows that trends in terms of planning and impulse are moving away from a single weekly shop, says Scamell-Katz, with people now more likely to shop four times a week and buying for less far into the future. And because of this, they are looking to stores to help with their decisions.
John Taylor, head of buying for impulse at Musgrave Budgens-Londis, says: “There has been a change of thinking in the impulse industry. Formely, the industry adopted a category management approach based on consumer needs, but recent shopper insight research has clearly indicated that the impulse consumer shops by colour cues and brand association. For example, red chocolate equals Kit Kat in the minds of most consumers.”
Walkers’ Nonsuch Toffee marketing manager Emma Walker adds: “Consumers purchase quickly and with their five senses. Colour and attraction is important, and in order to grab their attention, manufacturers should create products that appeal to the senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and feel.”
Britvic category director Andrew Marsden says: “To make sure retailers fulfil the potential of on-the-go drinking occasions, they need to understand their customer base and satisfy their needs. This
includes encouraging purchase with other impulse categories such as newspapers, crisps, sweets and other snacks.”
Cadbury Trebor Bassett believes making the best use of materials is vital to maximising sales. It says its research has shown, in convenience outlets particularly, that while 80% of consumers who look at the confectionery fixture do make a purchase, the number of those who actually see the fixture is quite low at 28%.
The company adds: “The key to success lies in ensuring that the confectionery fixture is sited in a high traffic-flow location because, once shoppers have seen the range, the likelihood for purchase is significantly increased.”
Nestlé Rowntree has identified indulgence and sophistication as a trend, recognising that people have increasingly high expectations of the experience and pleasure they want from products.
“Pampering is seen as a deserved reward to compensate for our busy lifestyles,” says the company.
“We are also becoming a gourmet nation with a willingness to explore new and exotic tastes. This trend has led to the introduction of more indulgent products with higher-quality packaging, such as new Kit Kat Editions.”