Customer Holding Package Of Food In Grocery Store. Woman Buying
Customer holding package of food in grocery store. Woman buying groceries in supermarket. Happy smiling lady comparing and choosing product from shelf and display in hypermarket.

In most food categories, consumers lean toward brand-name foods over generic or store-brand foods. But their preference shifts when significant price discounts come into play, according to the September issue of the Consumer Food Insights report from Purdue University’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability.

Within five different food categories, consumers were asked how discounts on store brands impacted their choices: 

  • If generic/store brands carried a 15% discount over brand-name products, most consumers said they’d still choose brand-name beverages (71%) and snack foods (60%). But a 30% discount on generic/store brands reduced these percentages to 65% and 40%, respectively.
  • For canned and boxed goods, consumers were almost evenly split in their preference for brand-name or store-brand products, regardless of the discount offered.
  • Most consumers said they prefer store-brand products for fresh meat — 52% with a 15% discount and 62% with a 30% discount — and fresh fruits and vegetables — 67% with a 15% discount and 66% with a 30% discount. 

Not surprisingly, income level also affected these decisions. More than half (56%) of households making under $50,000 were more likely to choose generic/store brands at a 15% discount, and that percentage jumped to 70% for a 30% discount. Meanwhile, discounts had little impact on households making more than $50,000, with more than half sticking with brand-name products. 

When asked what they believe about brand-name foods, many consumers said brand-name beverages (62%) and snack foods (51%) taste better than store-brand products. However, taste wasn’t much of a factor in the other three categories. Most consumers felt there was no difference in nutrition between brand-name and generic/store-brand products, but they leaned toward brand-name foods for higher quality ingredients. 

See the full report from Purdue for more consumer insights. 

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