Taste gains on health as fresh-food driver: NGA-SG study

February 12, 2013

Perimeter fresh foods pull consumers into their primary supermarket, say more than two-thirds of respondents.

This is the second of five stories on The Lempert Report this week revealing some key findings from the National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru 2013 Consumer Panel Survey.  The NGA Show is convening in Las Vegas, where our CEO Phil Lempert is presenting study insights to the nation’s independent grocers.

Since about six in 10 Americans concede they could eat “a lot/somewhat healthier,” retailers should stress the daily importance of produce and perimeter foods.  More than seven in 10 (70.9%) say they eat more fruits and vegetables to ensure a healthy diet. Good thing, since nine in 10 (90.0%) call high-quality fruits and vegetables the top feature in a primary supermarket—and 90.1% rate their main grocer “excellent/good” on this measure. This is the highest-ever rating in the NGA-SG survey’s history.

“Health” repeats as the #1 reason why people eat fresh foods, but the margin by which it outpaces “taste” narrows. “Health” mentions slide to 58.2% from last year’s 61.0%, and “taste” mentions rise to 37.5% from 35.0%. This is good news—more people may actually enjoy eating healthier, and so they’ll continue. Healthful eating prospectsimprove long-term for another reason too: the two youngest age groups, 24 and under (71.0%) and 25-39 (67.6%) lead the “health” response.

For two out of three consumers (64.6%), produce takes command again. No major diminishment from last year’s 67.6%, although the small fall gives other perishables a chance to grow. For instance, meat advances to 18.7% from 17.8%, dairy rises to 5.1% from 4.8%, and seafood gains to 3.8% from 3.2%, while deli dips to 2.0% from 2.1%.

Fresh foods keep rising in consumer esteem: 84.3% spend more than half of their fresh-food dollars in the supermarket, and a growing percentage (28.4%, up from 26.0% in 2012) give the grocer more than nine-tenths of their fresh-food budget. 

Perimeter fresh foods are today’s traffic magnets. Nearly 7 in 10 consumers (69.2%) say these are what pull them into their primary supermarket. That’s up from 66.4% in 2012. This response comes most often from the high-end of the income scale—72.7% of the $125,001-$165,000 tier, and 78.0% of the $165,001+ group—and from the heaviest grocery spenders of $101per week or more (74.1%).