Survey finds Australians are ‘supermarket grazing’ culprits

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th November 2011

Research findings published today by market researcher Newspoll suggest that almost half of Australians are ‘supermarket grazers’, who admit helping themselves to free produce while shopping in supermarkets.

In Newspoll’s nationwide online survey of 1,214 adults between the ages of 18 and 64, almost half (46 per cent) of respondents said they taste food in the supermarket without paying for it. Younger Australians appeared to be the main culprits with the research suggesting that 18-34 year olds are more likely than those aged 35-64 to sneak a bite.

Table grapes are number one on the menu (41 per cent) followed by cherries (23 per cent), nuts (22 per cent) and surprisingly, snow peas and green beans (12 per cent each).

Three quarters of those surveyed (75 per cent) admitted to pinching food because they were curious about the taste, a third said they simply couldn’t resist, while three in ten said the food products were easy to grab and eat.

According to Newspoll, shoppers on the east coast (Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland) are the worst offenders with approximately half in each State owning up to nibbling in the aisles. People in South Australia/Northern Territory and Western Australia are the more honest lot with only three in ten and four in ten confessing to trying food respectively.

With the Australian table grape season now underway, Chairman of the Australian Table Grapes Association, Nick Muraca said, “I’m not surprised that grapes are the pick of the bunch – it’s just one of those things people want to sample. We don’t mind if they taste a couple, but if they go back for more without buying, that’s when it becomes stealing and our hardworking farmers and retailers lose out.”

When asked to comment, representatives of Coles and Woolworths surprisingly indicated that the issue was not of significant concern. On one view, perhaps it is not, but maybe the supermarket groups have been factoring in such losses into their costs and pricing structures.