Almost half of consumers place price as the number one factor when purchasing food and groceries, according to a survey commissioned by KPMG Ireland.
This was followed by health and nutritional credentials of the product, brand familiarity, products being Irish in origin and sustainability.
The research by KPMG also found that while consumers are moving ever-more towards online shopping across the board, this trend hasn’t yet penetrated the food market to near the same extent.
Over two out of three consumers still prefer to buy fresh fruit and meat in store so they can examine the quality themselves, and 44% believe the shelf-life of food products bought online is not as good as those they buy in-store themselves.
62% of respondents rate the sustainability credentials of the producer/manufacturer as a primary consideration when choosing food items.
However, just over one third (37%) stated they would be willing to pay slightly more for food products with more sustainable packaging.
Younger consumers are making more of an effort towards sustainable food practices and are willing to pay more, according to the research.
Meanwhile, almost one third (32%) are making a conscious effort to reduce their consumption of meat and dairy products, either for environmental, ethical or health reasons.
Additionally, consumers place great emphasis on buying Irish-made and produced food, and in general having a large degree of transparency from producers, with knowledge of the sustainability credentials, provenance of the food, award or recognition stamps and how far items have travelled.
Food price and consumer behaviour
According to the survey, price is still the number one factor for the majority of consumers.
However, health and sustainability factors have become increasingly important with health and nutritional credentials, food being of local Irish origin and food being sustainably produced coming in second, fourth and fifth place respectively.
Consumers do not believe brand or advertising is an important factor when deciding what food and groceries to purchase.
The quality of branded versus own-brand products has proved a divisive issue, with just over two in five consumers claiming there is no quality difference, while a similar proportion believe branded products have higher quality.
Similarly, one in five stated that they tend to favour buying branded products, while two in five have no preference whatsoever.
The survey was commissioned by KPMG Ireland and carried out by research and marketing specialists RED C, who ensured a representative sample, considering factors such as location, age, gender, and socio-economic background.
Participants were 51% males and 49% female with 29% from the Dublin region, 27% from the rest of Leinster, 27% from Munster and 17% from Connacht/Ulster.
The age profile ranged from the 18-24 year old bracket up to over 65s.