Unpacking Popular Food & Beverage Trends

October 29, 2018

How disruptive are food and beverage subscription services to the grocery industry? Has online grocery shopping caught on yet? What compels shoppers to select specific food and beverage products?

The Consumer Trends in the Food and Beverage study from Morning Consult released earlier this year examines food and beverage trends, taking a close look at online vs. in-store shopping, purchase considerations and product labels. We will unpack data from these trends in this article.

Online vs. In-Store Shopping

90% of Americans are satisfied with the grocery options near them, but do they like grocery shopping?

Online consumers enjoy it more than customers who shop in a physical store. 74% of consumers who bought groceries online say they enjoy it and 65% of consumers who never bought groceries online say they enjoy shopping.

For most shoppers, online grocery shopping is replacing in-between stock up store visits. 62% of consumers buy small amounts of items as-needed when they buy products online. 27% buy a week’s worth of groceries when they shop online and 11% buy groceries online in bulk.

Most adults have not bought their groceries online and 65% of consumers who say they’ve never purchased food or beverage products online say they have no plans to do so in the future.

The top barriers to buying food or beverages online include:

65% prefer to purchase in-person

12% convenience

14% not sure of the best online retailer to use

One in 3 adults have bought their groceries online. The top 3 reasons they cite for doing so are:

47% convenience

23% options

18% cost

Who is buying food or beverages online?

38% males

29% females

29% income under $50,000

38% income $50,000-$100,000

45% income over $100,000

36% urban

34% suburban

31% rural

Delivery fees are definite issue among consumers. 51% of Americans are not willing to pay extra to have groceries delivered. 29% are not willing to spend more than $5 on delivery. 14% are unwilling to spend between $5 and $10 on delivery and just 4% are willing to spend between $11 and $15 on delivery.

How much of a threat are subscription services to the food and beverage market? Not much, according to this study’s results. 53% of consumers are not interested in a grocery subscription service that delivers food or beverage products that they buy often. 56% of shoppers are uninterested in a subscription service that delivers curated food or beverage products.

Key Takeaways: Most grocery shoppers prefer to buy their groceries at a store but use it the most often when they need an item or two. However, those online shoppers are happier grocery shopping than those who shop in-store. How can you improve your customers’ in-store experiences? Solicit customer feedback to see how you can make shopping more enjoyable for your customers.

Purchasing Considerations

What factors do shoppers consider when they choose which food and beverage products to purchase?

The top motivators that make consumers spend more on a product:

45% brand name

37% made in the U.S.

32% made locally

23% organic

23% packaging notes company’s support for American farmers

23% no GMOs

23% a friend’s recommendation

18% packaging notes company’s commitment to the environment

18% packaging notes animal welfare

Organic is a buzzword that continues to capture consumer attention. Shoppers weighed in on which product categories organic matters in their purchase decisions:

47% dairy products

46% juice

42% health/snack bars

42% frozen produce

40% bread products

40% grains/pastas

37% canned goods

36% cereal

34% ready-made or frozen meals

33% coffee/tea

32% snack food

30% condiments/sauces

28% packaged desserts

22% soda/pop

22% candy

Consumers care about health and nutrition. They ranked with product categories that nutrition/health matter in their purchase decisions:

76% dairy products

73% juice

72% cereal

71% health/snack bars

71% bread products

70% grains/pastas

69% frozen produce

68% canned goods

64% ready-made or frozen meals

58% snack food

54% condiments/sauces

51% coffee/tea

Key Takeaways: Health and nutrition matters more to customers than what’s organic. Find ways to educate shoppers on health/nutrition. Some ideas to get you started: include a heart healthy foods in your print ad; get specific product recommendations from nutritionists/dieticians/doctors highlighting nutrition/health information about that product.

Product Labeling

Word choice on product labeling makes an impact on consumer purchase decisions. Do brand names matter? Which key works increase the likelihood of product selection?

82% of all adults will purchase generic products if they are cheaper than brand names. This percentage doesn’t change much regardless of income level. However, brand names matter to consumers’ purchase decisions for the following product categories:

64% soda

64% coffee/tea

64% cereal

64% juice

63% snack foods

60% dairy products

60% bread products

60% ready-made or frozen meals

59% candy

58% health/snack bars

58% condiments/sauces

53% packaged desserts

53% frozen produce

53% canned goods

50% grains/pastas

Shoppers don’t just zero in on a product’s brand name. These words/phrases on product labels make shoppers more likely to purchase a product:

81% fresh

72% farm-fresh

68% sourced from American farmers

68% nutritious

68% high source of vitamins

66% natural flavors

58% naturally sweetened

58% high in fiber

53% grass-fed

50% free-range

49% low calorie

48% organic

organic matters more to the 18-29 year-old age group; 54% of this demographic say organic is more appealing vs. 37% of those 65 or older

46% non-GMO

43% fat free

42% sugar free

42% sustainably sourced

38% ethically sourced

30% parent-approved

28% gluten free

26% diet

17% vegan

The 10 most popular packaged food and beverage brands:

1. Hershey

2. Ritz

3. Pillsbury

4. Kellogg’s

5. Heinz

6. Betty Crocker

7. Cheerios

8. Campbell’s

9. Oreo

10. Frito Lay

Key Takeaways: Fresh, nutrition information and locally-sourced are among the most important words on products. Consider creating point of sale signage highlighting these important words and consumer education campaigns about products with these words. Highlight them in an email blast or feature them in your print ad.

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