Consumers note rising prices, smaller packages

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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NEW YORK — US consumers are noticing that food prices in grocery stores are increasing while the size of products is decreasing, according to a new survey from Deloitte.

“Higher prices, smaller package sizes and pain at the pump are driving consumers to buy lower-priced grocery items,” said Pat Conroy, vice chairman of Deloitte. “That’s why now more than ever it is important for consumer products companies to strengthen their customer relationships and distinguish value ahead of the competition.”

Approximately nine in 10 survey respondents said they believe prices in food stores are increasing, and nearly three-quarters of respondents also said the size of some packaged goods is getting smaller. As a result, consumers are purchasing more private-label and store-brand products. More than 75 percent of respondents purchased lower-priced products and 40 percent added more private-label products. Gas prices are impacting shopping behavior as well with 73 percent of respondents making fewer trips to the grocery store to save money and 41 percent buying fewer items overall.

Consumers are paying more attention to nutrition information on the front of pack to help make healthier decisions with 76 percent of respondents saying they more often want healthier food options when they shop and 65 percent agreeing or somewhat agreeing that food retailers are starting to sell more locally produced fruits and vegetables.

“The front-of-package findings, coupled with survey results showing that consumers are trending towards healthier food purchases, presents a tremendous opportunity for consumer products companies that are willing to enhance their nutritional transparency,” Conroy said. “Consumer products companies that use healthy ingredients and are willing to share nutritional information on the front of the packaging can strengthen their customer base among a growing faction of consumers.”

Almost 50 percent of respondents agreed that a row of icons called “Nutrition Keys” would be helpful for purchasing decisions, and 51 percent of shoppers read ingredients on unfamiliar items.

Smartphones increasingly are playing a role in shopping habits, too, as 34 percent of smartphone users have researched food prices or product information while in the store and 43 percent of smartphone users have managed shopping lists on the phone.
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