Social Data Provides Grocery Brands Insight into Farmers’ Market Shoppers

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As the leaves begin changing, farmers’ market season is quickly coming to a close. While the tents and tables will come down over the coming weeks, the social media conversations about these festive community events indicate that farmers’ markets will only continue to grow in popularity in the years ahead.

USDA data shows that the number of farmers’ markets in the United States has increased by 365 percent over the past two decades. Driven by trends such as the rise in organic food, locally sourced goods and the farm-to-table movement, the farmers’ market craze doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

By analyzing almost 1 million conversations on the social web this summer, Networked Insights discovered 10 primary reasons why consumers shop at farmers’ marketers and how traditional grocery stores compare in those same purchase drivers. For grocery chains that want to adopt a more farmer-friendly brand, social data clarifies what matters most to shoppers and provides guidance on the marketing strategies that will best resonate with farmers’ market shoppers.

According to our analysis of conversations on the social web between May 1 and Aug. 1, consumer sentiment around farmers’ markets is 30 times as positive as that of grocery stores. In every one of the purchase driver categories – including seasonality, freshness of food, support for local farmers and businesses, and the community aspect of the event – consumers talk about farmers’ markets in more positive terms than grocery stores.

Based on these findings, Networked Insights developed three key takeaways for big grocers looking to incorporate the aspects of farmers’ markets into their customer experience:

  1. Emphasize seasonality by creating an experience that varies with the season. This could include promoting peak-season produce rather than emphasizing the convenience of having produce available year-round.
  2. Think local by expanding the selection of locally produced goods and labeling them as such.
  3. Make grocery shopping an event by experimenting with mini-markets in shopping lots and meet-and-greets with local farmers. Encourage parents to bring their kids to these family-friendly activities.

The findings provide a wealth of insights for Big Grocery brands that want to replicate the farmers’ market experience in order to stay competitive and keep consumers in their aisles. For the full report, click here.