The economic downturn has refocused consumer behavior on value. As noted inthis month’s Packaging article, value packs that provide more bulk for their buck have become popular. At the supermarket, consumers are trading down to private label products or shopping at discount stores,the Channel Strategies article reports.

In the on-premise arena, research confirms value is in fashion, said Mike Ginley, partner at Next Level Marketing, Westport, Conn., during his presentation at last month’s International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. The company’s research shows that when consumers go out, which is less often than they used to, frequently they order only one drink, Ginley said.

However, the consumer definition of value is a combination of price and quality; meaning that on-premise consumers aren’t always buying the lowest priced drinks, Ginley said. Instead, many think, “If I’m only going to have one drink, let’s make it good.”

For some consumers, an on-premise beverage is a treat worthy of the expense. For others, they are willing to pay more for products that support their social and ethical beliefs.

Another important factor in the value proposition, to me, is experience. Starbucks’ Roy Street Coffee & Tea coffeehouse concept store in Seattle embodies this idea of investing in experience. The coffeehouse’s vintage furniture, wireless Internet and expansive beverage and food menu set up an atmosphere almost designed for gathering and lingering. Read more about the store and Starbucks’ new initiatives, click here. BI