Australian shoppers struggle to stay loyal to local, survey finds

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th October 2011

Despite two-thirds (67 per cent) of Australian consumers saying they believe it is important for grocery products to be sourced locally, only 33 per cent claim to buy local food and drinks regularly, according to a survey undertaken by global consumer research group Datamonitor.

Datamonitor surveyed Australian consumers during May and June 2011. The findings, published today, suggest a “clear disparity” between the number of consumers who attach importance to local products, and those who actually purchase them regularly.

Commenting on the findings, Datamonitor Analyst Katrina Diamonon said, “Bridging the gap between interest and purchase behavior remains an ongoing challenge to Australian companies. Higher prices continue to inhibit wider adoption of local products, with 41% of Australians saying that this is a major drawback of local offerings. In fact, 42% of Australians claimed that finding a lower price is more important to them than a product being produced locally.”

Interestingly, the survey found that the “vague meaning of ‘local’” was a strong deterrent, with 40% of Australians citing this as an obstacle to locally produced grocery products.

“The lack of regulation around the term “local” makes it vulnerable to overuse or even misuse, which can create confusion among consumers and undermine the influence of local claims altogether,” Ms Diamonon said. “We are already seeing the effects of unregulated local claims, with recent reports of products ‘made from local and imported ingredients’ that in fact contain very little Australian product.”

Datamonitor’s survey also found that country of origin logos are among the most influential symbols for Australian grocery shoppers. According to Datamonitor, out of a list of 13 different symbols appearing on grocery products, Australians chose the ‘Australian Made’ symbol as the most influential – more persuasive than the Heart Foundation Tick, Australian Certified Organic stamp and the RSPCA Approved Farming logo.