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Independent Grocers And Family Caregiving


 by Jim Dudlicek / NGA Director of Communications and External Affairs

Caring for the family is an all-encompassing task, often extending to multiple generations in the ever-evolving American household. Consumers facing this responsibility look to their neighborhood grocer for guidance on meals, medicine and other life comforts.

How can independent grocers better prepare themselves to deliver on their consumers’ needs? NGA hosted a recent webinar, led by Dave Wendland, VP of strategic relations at the Hamacher Resource Group, that explored the expectations, decision drivers and category preferences through the eyes of shoppers focused on providing caring for a loved one.

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

What is caregiving? As stated on the Family Caregiver Alliance website, an informal caregiver is “Any relative, partner, friend or neighbor who has a significant personal relationship with, and provides a broad range of assistance for, an older person or an adult with a chronic or disabling condition.” One-fifth of the population is a caregiver, mostly children caring for elderly parents. Half are age 53 to 71; six in 10 have jobs in addition to caregiving duties. Average related spending runs them $200-$460 a month. Needs include long-term physical conditions, emotional or mental health issues and memory problems.

Top purchase motivators for caregivers are cost, ingredients, familiarity, urgent need and brand. Family caregivers spend more than $54 billion per year on products and services not covered by insurance or Medicare. Caregivers spend more per trip to the store, with the average non-prescription spend running $15.25.

Categories most often purchased by caregivers include incontinence, nutrition, bathing and skin care, dietary supplements, digestive health and diagnostic equipment. Top intended purchases by condition are general pain relief, cough/cold and allergies.

Aligning caregiving with grocery. Meet caregivers’ unmet needs, which may include reducing out-of-pocket costs, skills training to properly help with daily activities and product selection, and becoming active within a caring community that offers support, advice and reassurance. Grocery is the third most preferred outlet for caregivers, behind mass/discounter and drug.

Reinvent your shelf strategy. Create a holistic assortment of care. Help shoppers find clear choices. Extend beyond products to deliver solutions.

Move toward relationships over transactions. This is where independent grocers have the biggest opportunity, as they historically have closer relationships with their shoppers and the community than large chain retailers.

Offer support. Focus on safety; help caregivers create a “safe” environment for their loved one. Food is medicine; create a communication campaign to inform, educate and guide shopper decisions. Surround products on your shelves with service offerings that coach and counsel caregivers. Solution-centric merchandising transforms traditional aisles from disconnected items to holistic solutions. Incorporate apps, in-store technology and web-based tools that augment a shopper’s journey. Look beyond your four walls for resources, ideas and industry leadership.

To hear all the exclusive insights in this and our other webinars, visit https://nga.sclivelearningcenter.com/MVSite/default.aspx.

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