Australians consider food safety to be the topmost defining criteria when it comes to choosing the supermarket from which they will shop for fresh foods, new research suggests.
According to a studyby Roy Morgan, an Australia-based research firm, food safety is more important to Australian grocery buyers than proximity to home, good value, trading hours or the quality and range of foods.
The research, which is based on a year-long survey until June this year, found that 57% of grocery buyers cited food safety standards as a very important factor when deciding where to shop.
The usual factors
This was followed by the 55% whose decision to choose the supermarket was based on whether the store is near home or good value, while hygienically prepared food and a clean and tidy environment were each very important to 53% of shoppers.
Research also showed that 52% of shoppers considered the quality of fresh produce, convenient trading hours and low prices, but more shoppers placed a high importance on easy parking (51%) than the range of fresh fruit and vegetables (47%).
Other factors further down the list include clean and functional trolleys (43%), range of brands (42%), weekly specials (41%) and being able to buy everything there (37%).
Discounts not so important
Most surprisingly, less than one in four grocery buyers said discounts for regular shoppers or petrol discounts were a central reason to choose a particular supermarket—going against the discount-based retail strategies that most supermarkets have employed in Australia for both fresh and packaged food.
Roy Morgan’s Warren Reid said that increased competition among supermarkets would mean that understanding customers and the factors they saidwere important when choosing a supermarket is going to be even more critical than usual.
“With Aldi soon to open in SA and WA, Costco planning five new stores across Australia by the end of 2014, and Metcash undergoing a strategic review of its wholesale trading terms, the supermarket industry will see increased competition in the next 24 months,” he said.
Reid pointed out that not all shoppers have the same priorities. “For example, food and hygiene factors rank high for Coles and Woolworths shoppers, price and value for Aldi and convenience for IGA. Therefore growth strategies for each supermarket should take these differences into account.”