After the pet food recall, retailers won consumers over with nutritional education systems and premium private-label lines
Center Store aisles were the unlikely setting for an emotional series of events that kicked off in the early months of 2007 with the Menu Foods pet food recall.
Pet owners grew increasingly weary of ever-shrinking dog and cat food merchandising mixes and shelf holes that seemed to grow, along with anxiety levels, by the day. Many shelled out double what they'd previously paid for the premium, natural and organic dog and cat foods that remained on the shelf.
Shoppers also dug deeper into their wallets for foods that helped improve their own quality of life.
Armed with information gleaned from nutrition education tools, consumers paid a premium for healthier fare that appealed to their specific nutritional needs. Whether presented at the package level, at shelf's edge or through in-store kiosks, nutritional information aids sponsored by retailers, associations and manufacturers led shoppers on the path toward healthier eating.
Many of the items they reached for bore a private-label brand name. Chains including Safeway and Meijer experienced continued success with their certified-organic store-brand lines that made premium items accessible to all.
Behind the scenes, manufacturers worked toward achieving greater supply chain efficiency by creating smaller and more sustainable packages. Their efforts were spurred by Wal-Mart Stores after it handed down its packaging scorecard. The tool allows suppliers to evaluate themselves in the areas of packaging innovation, and product/package ratio, among other things. Wal-Mart is hopeful that its effort will have a big impact on shelf space, the use of materials, manufacturing, shipping containers, trucks, storage, refrigeration, waste and the energy used for production and transportation.