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Consumers turning to private labels as branded portion sizes shrink

By Stephen Daniells , 30-Aug-2011

The Nutrition Keys prototype
The Nutrition Keys prototype

Savvy US consumers are increasingly turning to store brands and private labels as the size of some packaged goods shrink, according to a new survey from Deloitte.

The “2011 Consumer Food and Product Insight Survey Part Two” found that 88% of respondents believe the prices of food in grocery stores are increasing, and 74% believe that the size of some packaged goods is smaller.

The survey’s results are based on responses from a nationally representative sample of 2,000 consumers.

Of the 676 consumers who reported changing their purchasing habits in response to the shrinking product sizes, 64% said they were now “seeking out lower priced brands, including store brands”, while 53% said they had “switched to other products that have the same, larger size [they] used to buy”.

Nutrition labeling

Health and wellness also featured highly among the responders, according to the Deloitte data, with 76% of respondents agreeing or somewhat agreeing that they are looking for healthier food options when they shop more often.

In response to the Nutrition Keys front-of-pack labeling system unveiled by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) last year, 49% of respondents agreed that “having the information on the front of the package will make it easier for [them] me to decide whether to purchase the product”.

The GMA and FMI represent the majority of food and beverage companies in the United States. They announced their intention to develop a front-of-pack nutrition symbol in the week following release of an IOM report that found front-of-pack nutrition labels would be most useful to consumers if they highlighted calories and nutrients that could be harmful when consumed in excess, such as trans fat, sodium, and saturated fat.

Nutrition Keys highlights calories, saturated fat, and sodium, and also adds sugars, which were not included in the IOM’s recommendations.

In addition, the label does not mention trans fats front-of-pack, as the IOM recommended, but allows food companies to highlight up to two ‘nutrients to encourage’ – specifically potassium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron and protein.

To view the study’s complete findings, please click here .

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