Market Research: The Underlying Complexities of Consumer Choice
J. Beckley (1) and H. Ashman (2). (1) The U&I Group, Denville, NJ. (2) The U&I Group, Powell, OH. Cereal Foods World 52(6):326-327.
Life is defined by the choices we make, and many U.S. adults make choices that are highly influenced by lifestyle "speed." When we combine the speed of life today with a cultural and technological phenomenon, the Internet, we have a fabulous way of providing people who have less-and-less time to focus with a lot of information they cannot or will not completely absorb. When we are loaded with too much information or stress, we forget. Most of us use a variety of "heuristics," or rules of thumb, to help us remember. These are what we call "top-of-mind" thinking structures, which help us hurry through and minimize the chaos of life. This is the pattern of behavior that is impacting the food trends and therefore the cereal food industry today. Some large food manufacturers recognize this and have adopted initiatives that speak to simplicity, vitality, sustainability, and environmental concerns. These initiatives are not new, but rather, retooled and easy to remember. They echo concerns that have been part of the fabric of smaller niche players for years. The food industry hopes that consumers will be selective and thoughtful in considering the importance of these social values.