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Study reveals grocery shoppers’ purchasing priorities

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 06-Feb-2009

The importance of healthy, environmentally friendly, and good value products has been put in the spotlight in a comprehensive new study by BrandSpark International.

The American Grocery Shopper Survey questioned over 50,000 consumers about their current and future shopping habits and preferences, focusing on product appeal, intent to repurchase, future spending habits, and consumer confidence.

The survey revealed a high level of consumer skepticism about manufacturers’ green credentials, at a time when manufacturers are increasingly seeking to portray a more environmentally friendly image.

Although 70 percent of consumers said they were interested in buying products that are better for the environment, BrandSpark International said: “75 percent of consumers believe that some companies are exploiting environmentally friendly claims for marketing purposes.”

It added that despite consumer concern, only 40 percent are willing to pay more for a ‘greener’ product – while 78 percent agreed that “manufacturers have a long way to go to reduce the amount of packaging.”

The survey also identified those most likely to try new products soon after they were introduced by measuring levels of agreement with statements such as “I look for products that are innovative” and “When shopping I actively look through stores for products that are new and different”.

Women act first

It found that women are far more open to trying new products than men. Of those identified as ‘early adopters’, 80 percent were women.

Maxwell Bonnie, US program manager for BrandSpark’s Best New Product Awards, told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the typical grocery shopper is a woman – seventy percent of households’ principal grocery shoppers are women, and thirty percent men. And secondly, we found that women took more time and care with their shopping.”

Greater awareness

The study found that the ‘early adopters’ generally had greater awareness and concern about chemicals and artificial sweeteners in food, that they were more health conscious, and tended to believe in branded foods as representing higher quality.

Top motivators for buying new products were value for money, better quality, and added health benefits, with identified ‘healthy living’ and ‘weight loss’ identified as their most important health concerns.

Overall, the report’s conclusions were optimistic.

It said: “While consumer confidence is shaky consumers expect the next 6 months will be better than past 6 months…75 percent of Americans like trying new products – this can be expected to continue through the volatile times.”