NGA Report Highlights H&W Demands of Shoppers

During the National Grocers Association’s (NGA) Convention last week, health and wellness took center stage with consumers as the results of the NGA’s 2010 Consumer Survey Report showed nutrition jumped six percentage points as a “very important” store trait for nearly four out of 10 consumers (37 percent).

According to the report, another 40 percent also called health and wellness “somewhat important,” making the availability of nutritional and health information far more pivotal to store selection than a year ago.

Working with Phil Lempert’s consumer panel, NGA’s SupermarketGuru 2010 Consumer Survey Report illustrates the increasing desire of an aging population to eat healthfully and prolong life, as well as Americans’ decisions to cull extraneous foods from their diets in a cost-saving effort.

Additionally, Lempert said the findings illustrate the trust consumers have in their preferred retail stores as educational sources on foods and beverages. Empty-nesters and childless couples account for 69 percent of survey respondents who consider this trait to be “very important.” Women make up 82 percent of respondents who feel the same.

A sign of how much more people want to eat healthy was also indicated in their food selections. More than nine out of 10 (91 percent) respondents regard high-quality fruits and vegetables as “very important.” By far the highest consensus on any measure affecting where people buy most of their groceries, this response is also a full five percentage points higher than a year ago, when 86 percent said the same.

“Women comprise eight out of 10 (79 percent) of those who say ‘very important,’ far outpacing the male response. Also, the three lowest income tiers (up to $65,000 annually) account for the greatest plurality (44 percent) of those who call this ‘very important.’ Perhaps this reflects their limited access to stores making this a priority, and their desire to shop at retailers that do. Women also account for two out of three (67 percent) who say ‘somewhat important,’ about the same as a year ago.”

The same held true when it came to questions on high-quality meats. More than three out of four consumers (76 percent) now say this, along with 17 percent who call it “somewhat important.” This is the most significant jump in these measures, which have stayed roughly the same the past few years.

The measurement of paying attention to special requests or needs rebounds in the 2010 survey with a four percentage-point rise (to 40 percent) that calls this store trait “very important.” The figure surpasses levels of each of the past two years. If it reflects consumers’ greater comfort preparing meals in the home kitchen, it also signals a need for stores to step up and provide more individual service when asked.

Additional points in the report include:

• “High-quality seafood department” is a favorite of boomers, who drove the 77 percent overall “very/somewhat important” rating on this store feature.

• Although only 10 percent of respondents overall regard pharmacy presence as “very important,” older consumers accounted for 65 percent of those who said this. Its dramatic rise from 49 percent a year ago reflects the myriad health conditions of 76 million boomers.

• More mature consumers 50 and older account for 65 percent of those who consider it “very important” that a supermarket “be active or involved in the community.”

As baby boomers grow older, they have more special needs, and they increasingly voice their individual demands. They feel they’re paying enough, and will take their business elsewhere if a store fails to help them.

Toss in the 43 percent that calls this store trait “somewhat important,” and 83 percent agree it is valuable. This level is four percentage points higher than last year’s 79 percent, and it is driven largely by women, who comprise 82 percent of those ascribing “very important” status to this retail behavior.

For more information on the study, click here:
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