Today’s news was hardly a surprise. I’d hazard a guess few food lovers were surprised. Why? Because the still-rising trend of foodie culture, combined with a desire for more interesting food and the resurging interest in cooking were all noted by Sobeys, and their marketers, long ago. While Safeway lagged behind with gluten-ous, salty, high-fat convenience items and executive prices, Sobeys was busy pulling in the health-conscious generation just heading back into the kitchen.
Their marketing staff and service providers have spent considerable hours designing social media platforms and promotions, developing foodie apps, magazines and other content that pushes food porn at consumers from all directions. And it’s good food porn. I’m such a food snob that clipping a recipe is beneath me – I write recipes, I don’t clip them – but even I admit to being Inspired a time or two. The Moodie Foodie app is a testament to understanding the strange, food-centric logic that thinks the right meal, like the right astrological omen, will cure anything, including the irritation of the age old question: what’s for dinner?
Sobeys has tapped into their market by responding to trends in food quickly, and by keeping a cook’s staples on rotating specials, allowing the economizing new mother, or large family, to keep on-budget. They’ve figured out that if we have to be a part of the loyalty program, then we better be getting paid for it, and oh yes, paid in groceries is just fine, thank you.
Of course, my admiration might just be because I’m smack dab in the middle of their demographic, or maybe it’s because my local Sobeys is a small, bordering on quaint, franchise that’s run by a friendly group of people that are always willing to listen, bring in a new product, or bring back one they didn’t realize I loved. The store feels local, a feat that other chains in my neck of the woods haven’t managed, despite the large images proclaiming them “Alberta’s Own.”
What the Sobeys marketing team has accomplished is a testament to what listening to your customers can do for you. They listened. They actually heard. They built the content and promotions that applied to their target demographic. They were consistent and constant in the application of their brand. They’re buying out the competition. I say well done, let’s hope the trend continues – because I’m really not above free food. Ever.