But, as this report will illustrate, such 'choice' has in the long run, come at a price. Supermarkets today, are proving to be a disaster rather than a boon for the society. The modus operandi of the supermarkets both in procuring and selling goods has had a telling effect on all sections of the society.
"Supermarkets wield immense power over the way we grow, buy and eat our food. They are shaping our environment, our health and the way we interact socially. These changes have gone unchallenged because consumers have been sucked into superstore lifestyles, persuaded that the opportunity to select from six different brands of cut-price oven chips at three in the morning represents choice and value"
In the essay, we initially assess the extent to which the supermarket industry controls the economy and also analyze the amount of power that supermarkets wield over the government or other smaller players like grocery stores etc. The essay critically analyses the present consumer trends as well as their current mindset. It is also important to determine their main influencing factors that ultimately work in favor of the supermarkets.
Finally, the essay discusses the core issue of how a supermarket adopts different strategies in order to woo customers in addition to discussing the various ways in which the consumers are heavily dependent on the consumers for most of their daily needs.
Overview of the Supermarket Industry
A supermarket is a self-service grocery outlet that sells food, beverages and other goods. They are located on urban high streets or in shopping malls, covering an area of around 4,000-25,000 square ft. According to the M+M Planet Retail (2001), over the last 10-15 years, many have developed branches in out-of-town or edge-of-town locations.
According to the IGD in 2001, the major supermarket constitute around 60% of the total market, retailers around 20%, while other smaller vendors and shops fill up the gap which is a mere 13%, In addition to the Co-operatives & hard discounters shares of 5% & 2% respectively. Market analysts, Taylor Nelson Sofres, who calculated the market share after studying shopping habits in 15,000 households, puts the figure at 75% for UK's major supermarket chains.
The supermarkets have also set their foot in the convenience sector, which is valued at around 21bn by the Fortune Magazine (2003). This is part of a strategy of the supermarkets, which aims the so-called 'cash-rich, time-poor' consumers who are on the rise. The Competition Commission report on Supermarkets has made a clear distinction between the two sectors giving the green light to potential takeovers. For example, as cited by just-food.com & Grocertoday.com (2001), Supermarket giant Tesco has acquired hundreds of stores after it took over the reins of TNS and Administore (cited by Reuters, 2001). The simple message sent out here is that the market is not a place for weaklings.
Overview of Consumer trends
"Trend cycles seem to be emerging more rapidly as a result of technology, accelerated social diffusion, instantaneous