Price sensitivity doesn’t extend to Australian snack food taste selection, survey finds

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 6th March 2012

A national independent consumer survey released today has revealed the raging price war on grocery staples is unlikely to extend to the snack food market. The majority of consumers surveyed indicated they prefer to eat premium snack food products with a higher price tag because of the superior product taste.

The independent survey was undertaken by Australian retail research company Canstar Blue, in conjunction with market researchers Colmar Brunton. Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 2,500 Australian consumers across a range of categories.

The survey showed more than half the respondents chose snack products on the basis of their taste over price when it came to purchasing cheese, yoghurt, frozen vegetables and pies, ice cream, packaged white bread, instant coffee, potato chips, margarine and cracker biscuits.

Canstar Blue’s Manager, Rebecca Logan said, “The results provide an interesting insight into consumer snack food preferences by demonstrating most Australians will happily pay more for the extra taste kick delivered by premium snack products. This trend was consistent across each category tested.”

“The findings show most consumers simply won’t compromise on taste when it comes to snack foods which suggests the savage price cuts between the major supermarkets impacting milk, fresh fruit and vegetables are unlikely to extend to the snack food market which is good news for manufacturers,” she added.   

Another trend which emerged from the Canstar Blue survey was the growing consumer support of challenger snack brands, with Mainland winning over Bega (cheese), Gippsland Dairy winning over Yoplait (yoghurt), Aldi winning over Birds Eye (frozen vegetables) and Aldi also beating Sargents and Big Ben (frozen pies).

Connoisseur triumphed over Bulla (ice cream), Abbotts Village Bakery came out ahead of Wonder White and Helga’s (packaged white bread), Red Rock won ahead of Smith’s (potato chips), Nuttelex won ahead of Flora and Meadow Lea (margarine) and Nabisco won ahead of Arnott’s (cracker biscuits).

Moccona was the one exception to the rule, with the market leading brand winning the Canstar Blue Taste Award for Instant Coffee.

The survey also revealed instant coffee customers had the strongest preferences out of all categories tested, with a whopping 68 per cent of customers saying they always buy the same brand of instant coffee compared with 33 per cent of bread customers who were loyal to their brand of choice.

Instant coffee customers were also least likely to compromise on taste, according to the survey, with 64 per cent of respondents choosing taste over price when selecting a product. They were also most likely to believe premium brands tasted better than generic brands (85 per cent of respondents) and were least likely to look for healthier options which didn’t necessarily taste as good (22% of respondents).

“It is fascinating to note it is the brands fiercely competing against the market leaders that triumphed in the area of taste satisfaction, with our survey respondents voting for challenger brands in the vast majority of categories,” said Ms Logan.

“The winning brands topping the taste charts also demonstrate that ‘green fever’ is extending to the snack food market, with several winners employing sustainable production methods and offering products with fewer chemicals and additives. This demonstrates many Australian consumers are keeping the environment and their health in mind even when making snack food purchases.”