Category Hacks


Let’s start with a quiz…


Which of the following things have you started doing or are considering doing? For every “started” give yourself 2 points. For every “considering” give yourself 1 point.


Washing clothes at a lower temperature. Started? Considering?


Taking shorter showers. Started? Considering?


Flushing the toilet less (for No 1’s…). Started? Considering?


Batch cooking more. Started? Considering?


Using the microwave more. Started? Considering?


So, how did you score?


Scored 10? Martin Lewis will be round shortly to hand deliver your Money Saving Expert certificate. Scored 6-9? Well done. You’re on the money saving front foot. Scored 1-5? You probably need to do less chin stroking and more money saving. Scored 0? Call a family meeting. Things are going to have to change.


The questions are all examples of “household hacks”. These are (often simple) things you can do to save money. There are a lot of them. You will hear a lot more of them over the next few months.


Probably from your most irritating friend.


Why are we talking about this? There is no escaping the cost of living crisis. Everything is rising. Inflation. Interest rates. Energy caps.


Many households will be thinking about their “household hacks”. These household hacks are going to translate into FMCG and Grocery “Category Hacks”. Changes in behaviour that will help shoppers cope with the cost of living. These hacks can start small but over time can have a BIG impact on category and brand value.


For instance, one of the hacks on the Money Saving Expert website is to cut dishwasher tablets in half. If everyone did that the size of the dishwasher tablet category would halve. On the flipside if everyone who ate pasta once a week started eating it twice a week the size of the pasta category would double.


The best hacks are ones that save shoppers money (good for shoppers) whilst they continue to spend money (good for categories & brands).


So, how can you give shoppers the right hacks…?


Indirect Saving. This could mean using a product to save money on something else. Ariel’s “Pod Colder. Save up to 60% on your washing machine energy bill” is a great example of this. Finish “Save water. Skip the rinse” is another. Vanish “Doubles the life of your clothes” is another.


Making Food Go Further. This could mean less waste. M&S Frozen “Use only what you need” is a great example. Hellmann’s Leftovers campaign “Make taste not waste” is another. This is a big opportunity for frozen and ambient. A threat to fresh and chilled.


More For Your Money. This could mean bigger packs. Walkers Value Box is a good example (though note you have to have the money to save the money). It could mean spelling out what you get for your money. Nescafe “166 Mugs of coffee per jar” is a great example. It could mean pay more to get better. Fairy “washes up to 2x more” is a consistently great example.


Little Twists. This could mean cost effective ways of livening up meals. Add some mustard to your mash. Add some mint to your peas. Add a rub to your chicken. Sainsbury’s ran a Little Twists campaign a few years ago. This type of thinking is more relevant now than ever.


Trade Up to Trade Down. This means spending more in grocery in order to save money on your overall budget. M&S Dine In is a great example. Spend £12 in M&S in order to save £40-50 eating out. The same principle can work for drinks. A bottle of premium spirits is the base for 15+ cocktails for the price of a couple of cocktails in a bar.


Bundling. This means getting products that are used together, to be bought together. It is the meal deal or drinks examples above. It could be a breakfast bundle. Here are your 5 weekday breakfast options for X price. It could be a household cleaning bundle. It could be a personal care bundle. It saves shoppers money whilst getting them to buy across more categories.


These are just a few examples. There will be plenty more.


The job is to make these category hacks work for you not against you.


Get on the front foot. Tell shoppers what they could (should…) do.


If you don’t, Martin Lewis probably will.


Feel free to forward. Have a great weekend. Speak to you in fortnight.