ORLANDO, Fla. -- Giant Food has remerchandised its salty snack-food section and continues to change its product mix according to the needs of its customers, said the chain's chairman.
"During the past year we changed our snack-food section from end displays to in-line because we found that our customers preferred locating their snacks in one area and not in 10 different parts of the store," said Peter Manos, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Landover, Md.-based Giant, which operates 174 stores in five Mid-Atlantic states and the Washington area.
Addressing an audience of snack-food, equipment and ingredient manufacturers when he spoke at the 60th annual Snaxpo Conference here earlier this month, Manos said snacks represent a key growth area for supermarkets.
"Snacks represent one of the most unique opportunities in the stores today. They offer a diverse assortment of products and have a broad appeal to consumers, both kids and adults, in all age groups and all income levels," he said.
The bulk of Giant's stores are in the affluent Baltimore/Washington corridor, where consumers are demanding healthier foods, Manos said.
"The growth of the better-for-you products, in particular, is evidence of how snacks can be used to reach and trade a health-conscious consumer to a new product. We have gained a good understanding of what the customer is purchasing and how to attract that all-important family shopper, but we still have much to learn as to why consumers make their choices," he said.
To learn more about its customers' purchasing patterns, Giant has been closely examining its customers. It is using consumer diary studies, focus groups, attitude and usage studies and geodemographic studies.
"We are moving into micromarketing to satisfy the varied desires of our consumers in different market areas," he said.