MasterChef factor ups food buying

INCREASED interest in food and frugal fever are the latest trends in Australian shopper behaviour, a survey has revealed.

The study, conducted by research group Directional Insights, surveyed 26,000 shoppers across the country. It found food spending was one area which had bucked the trend towards frugality.

Directional Insight managing director Helen Bakewell said food prices, especially fruit and vegetables, had increased due to two key reasons: a rise in “ethical” eating including organic produce which carries a price premium, and the “MasterChef factor”.

“MasterChef and other reality cooking shows have increased spending on foods that many people would have only bought infrequently two years ago,” Ms Bakewell said.

“Grocery chains invest in understanding their customers and have responded decisively to the new marketplace.

“Better shop layouts and other innovations have made it easier for customers to buy higher margin products after being enticed by lower-priced staples, like milk. Customer understanding and clever retail responses are the way forward, and grocery chains are ahead of the pack.”

The survey also revealed that women were the primary shoppers in Australia with many identifying themselves as mission shoppers. These shoppers shop for a reason, rather than leisure shoppers, who spend more time and money during a centre visit.

“Australians are now likely to shop and go rather than stay and play,” Ms Bakewell said.

“Today's shopper is a value-seeker.

“(They are) spending the same or more on food while tightening the purse strings in specialty stores.”

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