Despite the influence of elevated prices, 68% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for fresh food, an increase of 7% from last year, according to new research from Deloitte. Based on a survey of 2,000 consumers, Deloitte’s research shows that consumers would pay an average of 28% more for fresh food over alternatives like canned, frozen, or processed food.
Cost still heavily impacts what food consumers buy — the vast majority (93%) of consumers say price is an important factor in their fresh food purchasing decisions. And this year, the percentage of consumers who think food prices have gone up more than necessary jumped 7% to 80%.
But many consumers are willing to deal with the cost because they see value in purchasing fresh food. Personal health and wellness is the second most important driver of fresh food purchases, with 86% of consumers noting its importance. About 90% of consumers say fresh food makes them happy and that fresh food is part of a wholesome diet. More than eight in 10 consumers choose fresh food because they believe it reduces the risk of chronic health conditions/diseases and aids weight loss.
Meanwhile, other purchase drivers declined in importance this year, including locally grown/sourced (60% of consumers say this is important, down 20% from last year), environmental sustainability (63%, down 15%), and non-GMO (54%, down 14%). And only 47% of consumers listed organic as an important factor in their fresh food purchasing decisions.
Nearly 90% of surveyed consumers said food safety is of the utmost importance, and many check expiration dates (50%), inspect their food (44%), and prepare (37%) and store (36%) food as recommended to ensure their fresh food is safe. Many (37%) also trust their grocery store to provide safe food, but fewer trust brands (30%) and government regulators (24%).
Consumers are also asking for traceability — nearly 40% want detailed data on how their fresh food purchases move from farm to store.
See Deloitte’s full report for more data on the state of fresh food.