Shoppers believe government policies are responsible for price increases, study finds

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/Ibrahim Akcengiz
Source: Getty/Ibrahim Akcengiz

Related tags Inflation Grocery

As shoppers continue facing high grocery prices on shelves, they look to government policies as the most responsible for these increases, while believing retailers should communicate price increases more clearly, according to recent data from The Feedback Group.

Using a rating system of one ("not at all responsible") to five ("highly responsible"), 1,150 consumers surveyed in the poll rated government policies and action at 3.86 as the leading factor behind higher grocery prices, followed by product manufacturers and suppliers at 3.75. Consumers rated supermarket retailers at 3.4, below wars and worldwide political conflicts at 3.42.

Climate change factors and farmers were rated the lowest at 2.85 and 2.78, respectively.

“In this politically charged environment, supermarket shoppers believe that government policies are the leading influence on higher supermarket prices. Product manufacturers and suppliers follow closely behind, while supermarkets are viewed as further down the list, along with other factors,” Doug Madenberg, chief listening officer, The Feedback Group, shared in a statement​.

Madenberg continued, “More holistically, what emerges is a picture of multiple factors that the average consumer navigates, all contributing in various degrees to the price tag they face at the checkout.”

Understanding consumer perceptions around inflation and retail

While ratings for supermarkets and retailers were lower in the study, consumers’ perception of their profits were reported as higher than reality.

According to the study, consumers indicated that after a store pays its expenses and taxes, its net profits are 31%, a “slight decrease from the results of the last two years of 35% (2023) and 33% (2022).”

Based on findings from FMI – The Food Industry Association, supermarkets’ average net profits “has been close to 1% historically (and as high as 3% in 2020).”

Further, consumers gave “relatively low scores” of 3.23 in 2023 and 3.01 in 2022 on supermarkets’ efforts in communicating price increases.

“Clearly shoppers believe supermarkets could do more in terms of supporting them when it comes to fighting inflation, as well as communicating why product prices have increased. This is especially important in light of the inaccurate profit perception we continue to find in our research,” Brian Numainville, principal, The Feedback Group, shared in the same statement.


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