The organic industry experienced 9.5% growth in 2011, showing that consumers perceive organic food as value-added products worth the premium. At the same time, the price gap is narrowing for some organic products, such as lettuce, making it easier for the budget-minded consumer to choose organic over conventional products.
Consumers are asking more questions about their food and where it comes from. In response, grocery stores are trying to meet consumer demand for more information and have changed the way they present food to their customers. Even McDonald’s is starting a ‘Meet our Suppliers’ campaign. Yet, price still remains a powerful factor in food choice.
A study completed by the NPD Group in March found that 85% of U.S. consumers say price is the leading factor in deciding where to shop, trumping sales, special deals, customer service, and convenience. Setting the right pricing strategy, therefore, is a competitive advantage for retailers and manufacturers but it is also more difficult today with changes in shopping habits and the soft U.S. economy.
A long-term study completed by the Harvard School of Public Health and published by Archives of Internal Medicine finds that eating any amount and any type of red meat significantly increases the risk of premature death. The study examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for 20+ years. Substitution of other healthy protein sources, such as nuts, is associated with a lower mortality risk.
Shoppers not only care about cost and proximity to fresh produce, they also want choice and quality. A study of nearly 500 residents in six low-income Chicago neighborhoods showed an increase of approximately twofold in the likelihood of consuming three or more fruits and vegetables daily per consumers’ level of satisfaction of the shopping environment.
Consumer preference for local produce is increasing according to research completed by Mintel, a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence. 52% of consumers reported that it was more important to buy local produce over organic options.
According to the Ziploc Fresh Eating Survey, less than 50% of Americans eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, yet 80% are looking for ways to incorporate fresh ingredients into mealtime. The top three “freshest cities” are Hartford, CT, San Francisco, CA and Sacramento, CA. Cities deemed “least fresh” cite lack of fresh food options and proliferation of fast food as main barriers.
The first installment of the report “C-Growth: Using Shopper Research to Grow C-Store Sales” was released in February, including qualitative shopper research conducted in fall 2011 that reveals shoppers want more control and rewards out of their convenience store visits. The report is a tool to guide convenience store operators to create engaging shopping experiences.
A recent study shows that about 50% of consumers learn about food, recipes, meal planning, retailers and how to cook via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Digital food selection is a visual and rational process, placing higher emphasis on retailers to develop their brand and online campaign to evoke an emotional connection from consumers.
Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) is an estimated $290 billion U.S. marketplace for goods and services with market sectors in sustainable economy, healthy living, alternative medicine, personal development, and ecological living.
This paper from the Journal of Social Inclusion analyzes data from a survey sent to food insecure and secure households in Lansing, Michigan, to understand retailer perceptions and shopping behaviors.
This paper, written in collaboration between the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University, looks at survey results that compared consumer perceptions and behaviors around local foods and farmers markets.