Brand heads must not ignore mid-market consumers

The ‘prize’ audience for brands has been thought of as the ABC1 demographic, the people with disposable cash who are willing to spend on organic food, for example.

Lucy Handley

But it is how some of the more mid-market consumers are behaving that marketers might find interesting.

Food delivery brand Graze sends boxes of healthy snacks to people in the post, starting at £3.79. This might sound like quite a posh concept, but chief executive Anthony Fletcher tells me that there isn’t a specific audience for his brand, adding that he advertises in mid-market magazines like Women’s Weekly.

Similarly, the agency Bottle PR specialises not by sector, which many do, but specifically on a consumer audience of ‘everyday people’, those who are more likely to be C1, C2 or DE.

It handles public relations for brands such as Poundland and Shoe Zone, the footwear retailer with more than 570 shops nationwide.

It has just taken on baby food brand Organix – again a brand that might be considered upmarket but one that obviously wants to become more mainstream.

The brand is part of a lucrative market, as our trends feature reveals, based on an exclusive study by Kantar Worldpanel.

Hipp Organic, Ella’s Organic and Plum Baby are contributing to the category growing £11.6m over the last year, making it worth £130m as a whole. It is hot on the heels of organic vegetables, sales of which were £138m – but people are buying less of them overall.

In fact, veg saw a £11.5m sales decline over the last year, the biggest of any of the organic foods. This is because people are not seeing any obvious difference between it and non-organically grown produce, although delivery brand Abel & Cole says it is seeing growth.

But when it comes to what babies are fed, it seems that mothers are unlikely to scrimp, even during a recession. Karen Smith, group product manager at Hipp Organic says that the guilt mums have when they can’t make their children food from scratch is contributing to the strong growth in the sector. They are turning to good-quality organic or ‘natural’ – but pre-made- baby food.

The research also shows that marketers are best to focus on other aspects of their products than them being organic, especially in light of the Food Standards Agency saying that organic isn’tnecessarily better, a couple of years ago.

Supermarkets are also changing their shop displays so that organic food is not siphoned off, but are part of the mainstream – so another opportunity to target the everyday consumer.

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