Grocery Baskets Expand as Shoppers Cut Down on Dining Out



    
    Metro Food-Life Balance Survey Reveals Latest in Grocery Shopping Trends
    as First Stores Open in Ontario
    

    TORONTO, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Sixty per cent of Ontarians are dining in more
often to reduce expenses - especially in light of the recent economic slowdown
and increase in gas prices, according to the Metro Food-Life Balance Survey,
conducted by Ipsos Reid. The release of the survey, which looks at trends in
consumer grocery shopping habits, coincides with the launch of the first six
Metro stores in Ontario, as the established grocery chain enters the Ontario
market today.
    "Metro is a new name in groceries for Ontarians, but has a rich history
in the food industry," says Robert Sawyer, senior vice president, Metro
Ontario Inc. "We're excited to offer the best grocery shopping experience, an
expanded food selection, enhanced décor and best-in-class service to consumers
throughout Ontario."
    The research reveals that value for money, product quality and location
(46 per cent, 20 per cent and 16 per cent respectively) are the main drivers
for consumers when choosing a supermarket. By the end of 2009, 158 stores in
Ontario will be consolidated under the Metro banner - making it the largest
grocery chain in the province. New, navigable store layouts presenting 'food
at its best' will provide customers with an inviting, easy and enjoyable
shopping experience.
    The first six stores to convert will be Dominion stores at the following
locations: Bathurst and Lawrence; Yonge and Lawrence; Bloor and Spadina; Yonge
and Eglinton; Bayview and Eglinton; and Bayview and York Mills. All Dominion,
Ultra and The Barn stores will be converted before the end of 2008, Loeb
stores will be converted in the first half of 2009, and A&P stores will be
converted before the end of 2009.
    Adds Sawyer: "Our success is based on our unwavering focus on food. And
we know that we will attract customers by focusing on quality products - from
our Red Grill Angus beef, to our wide variety of Artisan breads, to our Fresh
2 Go gourmet line."

    Spending Smart

    Seven in 10 grocery shoppers agree that without a shopping list, they
tend to purchase more items and their grocery bill increases. In addition,
private label lines have become an especially popular solution to
penny-pinching, as nearly three-quarters of Ontarians agree they help keep
costs down. Metro's award-winning private label, Irresistibles, guarantees
satisfaction with such products as Irresistibles Orange Juice not from
concentrate and Irresistibles Ready to Serve Apple Pie.

    Quality Counts

    Given their time-constraints it's no wonder that ready-made meals are a
fast-growing segment. Today's savvy shopper wants more than the conventional
take-home offerings - in fact, poll findings show eight in 10 are looking for
more than just roast chicken or pizza. With a large assortment of
ready-to-serve meals available in store everyday, Metro shoppers can choose
from premium items such as salmon with mango salsa - not to mention 41 types
of fresh made sandwiches. In addition, Metro's signature Irresistibles and
Premiere Moisson brands are among 25 varieties of Artisan breads baked on-site
three times daily. This popular offering will be well-received - 55 per cent
of survey respondents said, given the option, they would purchase these breads
every time they went to the grocery store.

    Online

    On September 26, the industry's most innovative, award-winning consumer
website, metro.ca, will re-launch with more content than ever before. Just
like Metro stores, the redesigned website will offer a one-stop source for the
latest nutrition news, recipes, and tips to help consumers create quick,
healthy meals. It will also include a catalogue of 3,500 recipes, perfect for
those dining in.

    
    Additional Poll Findings

    -   Age and children are key factors for time-pressed consumers - those
        under 35 (78 per cent) and parents (74 per cent) are most likely to
        wish they had more time to devote to healthy meal preparation.

    -   Gender differences play a role in meal preparation - men are far more
        likely than women to devote 20 minutes or less to cooking (33 per
        cent versus 19 per cent).

    -   In order to better manage their time and pocketbooks, 40 per cent of
        Ontario shoppers find ready-made meals to be more convenient and
        cost-effective than purchasing all ingredients individually and
        preparing and cooking them at home.

    -   Half of shoppers like to purchase ready-made meal supplements to pair
        with their home cooking as a way to save time.
    

    These are just some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on
behalf of Metro Inc. from August 22nd - 26th, 2008. This online survey of
1,081 grocery shoppers in Ontario is accurate within +/- 3.0 percentage
points, 19 times out of 20.

    About Metro Ontario Inc.

    Metro Ontario Inc. is the result of a consolidation of five conventional
food store banners in Ontario. The launch of Metro is being supported by a
$200 million investment in upgraded store facilities, food offering and
marketing to create the province's largest grocery banner with 158 stores.
Over a 15 month period, all current Dominion, A&P, Loeb, The Barn, and Ultra
banners will be converted to the Metro name. The only banner not included in
the change is Food Basics which competes in the discount food segment.





For further information:

For further information: Selena Fiacco, Director, Communications, Metro
Ontario Inc., (416) 234-6081, selena.fiacco@metro.ca; Stephanie Nadalin,
Account Manager, Optimum Public Relations, (416) 306-6561,
stephanie.nadalin@cossette.com


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