Nov 05, 2020
Stop & Shop has launched a special section on its website spotlighting a curated selection of food items harking back to the 1990s.
In a press release, the supermarket chain noted that, while nostalgic shopping isn’t new, social distancing and other changes in lifestyles due to the pandemic “have created an increase in sentimental shopping and a yearning for what’s familiar and comforting.”
Many of the throwbacks items — including Fruit Gushers and Chips Ahoy! — align with the strong comfort food trend that has emerged during the pandemic as consumers seek familiarity and convenience in uncertain times. Other offerings include Eggo Waffles, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, Lunchables, Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli, SunnyD and Capri Sun.
At the same time, Stop & Shop noted that the online shift in grocery has heightened demand “for more personalized e-commerce experiences, where consumers easily can find online a curated index of what they want.”
Trends from the nineties had been making a comeback in the years before the pandemic marked by the revival of spaghetti-strap tank tops, scrunchies and chunky platform sneakers, as well as a number of the era’s TV shows such as ‘Friends.’
As Stop & Shop noted, two snacks popular from that decade, Dunkaroos from Betty Crocker and Twix Cookies & Crème from Mars, have come back this year.
General Mills this year relaunched a number of cereals with ‘80s formulations, including Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Cookie Crisp and Golden Grahams. Jennifer Jorgensen, VP marketing for General Mills cereal, said in a statement, “Our fans crave a taste of nostalgia.”
Some food brands that have returned with fanfare over the last decade include Twinkies, Suzy Q’s Cakes, French Toast Crunch and Crispy M&Ms.
Nostalgia is believed to be holding particular appeal over the last few months as people reminisce for more normal times. Wrote Collette Eccleston recently in Adweek, “Nostalgia takes us back to the past. It’s familiar and certain, which enables it to fulfill a core psychological need for security.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see a bigger opportunity for food brands and grocers to tap into the nostalgia trend? Will nostalgia-based marketing land among the trends receiving a boost after the pandemic is over?
“Any cardiologist reading about this trend is going to need their own version of comfort food. A kale smoothie or maybe a spinach salad.”
“This is not a new trend but a trend that gains popularity at times and then recedes again.”
“Doesn’t seem like this will hurt, but depending on the products, may not result in big sales lifts, especially for those focused on healthier choices.”