Evolution of the American consumer
Traditional drivers of taste, price and convenience are no longer the key deciding factors when it comes to food and beverage purchases
According to a recent study, “Capitalizing on the Shifting Consumer Food Value Equation,” roughly half of Americans surveyed (51 percent) weigh “evolving drivers”—health and wellness, safety, social impact, experience and transparency—in their purchasing decisions, in addition to the “traditional drivers” of taste, price and convenience.
Market analyst Deloitte collaborated with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) on the year-long study that surveyed 5,000 consumers and interviewed executives in the retail, food and beverage manufacturing, ingredient and agricultural industries.
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, it’s not just the millennials or most affluent putting these evolving drivers in the mix,” says Jack Ringquist, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and global consumer products leader. “Our research reveals the preference for these attributes does not differ by generation, income level or region, but is pervasive across these groups. The US consumer has changed in a fundamental and impactful way, and people’s preferences are becoming even more fragmented than the food industry may have anticipated.”
The study also found nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of the consumers surveyed believe a definition of food safety limited to “one that will not cause any immediate, physical harm” is insufficient. Consumers now link health, wellness and transparency with their definition of safety and include factors such as free from harmful ingredients (62 percent); clear and accurate labeling (51 percent); and fewer ingredients, processing and nothing artificial (42 percent).
“Food retailers are inherently ‘shopper advocates,’ and they respect their customers want both genuine and transparent shopping experiences,” says FMI Chief Collaboration Officer Mark Baum. “Our study sheds light on how companies can better understand the intersection of these new consumer food values and their own growth strategies.”
Industry implications of the report include:
-Consumer tastes and preferences will continue to fragment.
-The role of retailers in influencing consumer purchases will continue to increase.
-Smaller, newer companies will leverage new technologies and third-party relationships and improve engagement to earn consumer trust.
-Larger competitors within the industry will adjust to fulfill new, unique value propositions.
-Market success will be determined by building purpose-driven competitive advantages.
The full report can be found here.