Thirty-nine percent of U.S. consumers surveyed ranked low prices as 'very important' in choosing a supermarket, down from 51% in 2009: National Grocers Assn. survey

ARLINGTON, Virginia , February 14, 2012 () – The 2012 National Grocers Association (N.G.A.) Consumer Panel Report has been released, containing more than 75 shopping attributes to help independent grocers grow their businesses.

The wide-ranging national consumer study, conducted by SupermarketGuru.com for N.G.A., and sponsored by Valassis, digs deep to show differences in the demographics and lifestyles of grocery consumers. As in the past two years, the exclusive annual survey has expanded its insights into an already comprehensive list of consumer trends, including fresh foods, social causes, checkout, and caring about customers. Demographic information such as grocery spending, age, ethnicity, gender and household income is also examined in the report.

“This survey provides important insights for independent grocers to remain competitive including the latest consumer trends and perceptions about convenience, eating healthy, food choices and food safety,” said Peter Larkin, President and CEO of N.G.A. “This information provides important data for independent grocers to help guide decisions about growing sales and their competitiveness in the marketplace.”

Major findings of this year’s survey include:

Stores that help consumers feel more comfortable in this stressful economy will be better positioned to build shopping frequency and spending amounts.
Most consumers don’t focus exclusively on low prices when selecting a primary supermarket. For the fourth year in a row, low prices as being “very important” slid, coming in at 39 percent in 2012, down from 51 percent in 2009.
Shoppers are not exclusively loyal to their preferred store. More than three-quarters said that they would at least try out a new store in their neighborhood, especially if it was of their preferred size.
Stores supporting humanitarian causes are increasingly popular with consumers. Nearly 57 percent of U.S. adults would pay up to 2 percent more to buy food in stores that support causes they believe in, with 10 percent willing to pay up to 5 percent more. Causes that consumers want grocers to support include fighting childhood hunger and education issues.

SupermarketGuru.com conducted the national consumer panel on its website in November and December 2011. In all, 1,805 chief household shoppers completed surveys that detailed their experiences, behaviors and sentiments on what appeals to them (or not) about supermarkets, as well as their purchase influences, eating habits and nutritional concerns.

The survey is available for purchase on N.G.A.’s new and expanded member website at www.nationalgrocers.org.

About The National Grocers Association: N.G.A. is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. Most independent operators are serviced by wholesale distributors, while others may be partially or fully self-distributing. Some are publicly traded but with controlling shares held by the family and others are employee owned. Independents are the true "entrepreneurs" of the grocery industry and dedicated to their customers, associates, and communities. N.G.A. members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, as well as manufacturers and service suppliers. For more information about N.G.A. visit www.nationalgrocers.org.

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