The recent inflation has caused a surge in food prices in supermarkets and other food distribution points. We studied how inflation has affected Dutch consumption behaviour.
This study was completed on our own initiative to study recent trends in the food industry.
The price increase on average 18.5% on products in supermarkets is a reality for consumers. To what degree has this influenced the food shopping behavior of consumers? What are the main changes?
The majority, namely 58% of the participants in the study, indicated that their grocery shopping behaviour has changed because of price increases.
The adjusted purchasing behavior means for most participants an increased attention to weekly discounts and buying private labels. These are deemed just as good as the A-brands that the supermarkets offer, but for a lower price. However, the participants do declare that it should not be at the expense of other properties of food (such as taste and health).
“I sometimes try private label, but I refuse to compromise on taste or quality, and I have increased the number of vegetables, fruits and herbs that I grow on my balcony and windowsill”. Nancy
There is a minority of the participants that buys larger packs of non-perishable goods and freezes perishable goods. On top of that, a number of the participants describe an increase in self-sufficiency, baking their own bread and growing their own vegetables and fruits. They avoid pre-cut vegetables and complete meal packages, to save money.
The folders with weekly offerings are checked more profoundly and are used to plan the meals for the coming week. Participants choose to invest more time in doing groceries, to be able to save money.
“I use the different folders of different supermarkets to make a list, letting my week menu depend on the discounts offered”. Linda
Products that are discounted because of an approaching expiration date and the so-called ‘misfits’ are bought in increasing numbers, to counteract the waste of food, but most of all to save money.
Approximately one-third of the participants indicate that they think more profoundly about the need for certain unnecessary luxury products, like candy and crisps. These will not be bought, or bought less, to save money. The focus is therefore placed on the preservation of quality and taste of essential products, instead of luxury products. The luxury products are now predominantly purchased for special occasions.
The 42% of the participants who indicate that they have not changed their purchasing behavior, mostly say that they already were very price conscious when buying food.
“I have not actually adjusted the way I do groceries, because I was already a price-conscious buyer, that will not be drastically changing. Perhaps I will leave some unnecessary things out”. Micha
The keyword that emerges, considering the changes in the purchasing behavior of consumers, led by the increasing product price is consciousness. Consumers think more consciously about what is necessary for a healthy diet, try to replace the needed products with cheaper versions and do not buy products that are not needed.
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