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Business Week reports that “having already teased out costs through greater automation, shrinking inventory, and tighter logistics, manufacturers are now looking for new ways to improve, or just preserve, profit margins. Although they have no choice but to pass on higher costs to customers, they are now able to do it in smarter ways—by raising prices on only the least price-sensitive items instead of whole product lines or tailoring prices to various levels of demand in local markets, for example. Foodmakers are also tweaking product presentation and packaging in an effort to boost sales volumes.”

The good news for food marketers, according to the piece, is that as prices go up and the US economy continues to weaken, shoppers are opting for at-home meals as opposed to eating out – which has provided new opportunities for manufacturers and food retailers to create new offerings relevant to the changed circumstances in which consumers find themselves.

Beyond technology solutions that help marketers be more precise about the products they offer and the prices they charge there are other steps being taken by marketers:

• Offering recipes and other kinds of food preparation info to make things easier for consumers.

• Creating high-end product alternatives that can be sold for more money at higher margins…and that will satisfy shoppers’ aspirational instincts while keeping them out of restaurants.

• In addition, organic foods are believed to be another way of capturing at least of the food dollars being spent by members of Generation Y.

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