Consumers who don’t use their smartphones for grocery shopping are part of a shrinking minority. A recent study found that 86% of consumers now use their mobile devices to prepare for shopping trips. However, few Food manufacturers have adapted to the changing times.

Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, and Kraft are among a few brands that increased their digital investments last year, launching sophisticated mobile apps or amplifying their email marketing efforts. Yet the industry as a whole remains sluggish in digital. Here are three areas in which food brands are dramatically underinvesting, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food:

Mobile Apps

So much for scribbling a shopping list on the nearest scrap of paper: 58% percent of surveyed consumers used a grocery shopping app in 2014. However, few food brands have developed such apps. A mere 19% of Index brands maintain an iOS app, according to the L2 study – and only one-third of those have been updated in the past year. Many also lack key features that would make them useful shopping tools. Only 28% let users create shopping lists, and barely 6% offer access to coupons.

Mobile app adoption by brand type

Coupons
If coupons aren’t on brand apps, where are they? Where they’ve always been, it seems. Last year, more than 85% of food coupons were distributed as traditional paper inserts.

This fails to reflect changing consumer behavior. Nearly 70% of smartphone-using grocery shoppers use their devices to search for coupons, yet Food brands have little to offer them. Only 17% of Index brands offer coupons on their sites, a decrease from 20% last year.

Some brands offer coupons on e-tailers, but these investments are inconsistent. For example, 36% of Index brands issue coupons on Walmart.com, while only 14% offer them on Amazon.

Digital coupon availability on e-tailers

Email
More food brands have made the move towards email marketing: 78% of Index brands offer email signup, an increase from 62% last year. However, one-third of those brands failed to send a single email, and another 13% only sent an introductory welcome message.

Again, that handful of messages contains barely any coupons, despite growing evidence that shoppers welcome emails that would help them save money. In a survey, 64% of consumers said they had printed coupons from their inbox that they planned to redeem offline. Yet the L2 study found that only 4% of brand marketing emails included coupons or discounts. The majority of emails focused on recipes or marketing campaigns or invited consumers to shop with a call-to-action.

Top 10 email senders

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