Merchandising Features / Retailer Features / Omnichannel

Consumers are noticing more ethnic PL items on shelf

March 30, 2012
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Younger consumers are more likely to be buyers of ethnic private label foods than are those over 34 years of age, according to exclusive research done for PLBuyer by research firm Consumer Science.

Most are not buying more PL ethnic products, however

Younger consumers are more likely to be buyers of ethnic private label foods than are those over 34 years of age, according to exclusive research done for PLBuyer by research firm Consumer Science.
Consumers are noticing more ethnic private label items when they do their grocery shopping, Dallas/Fort Worth-based Consumer Science also found in an August survey of 400 consumers. But while they’re seeing them, most are not buying any more ethnic private label items now than they did a year ago.
Roughly 65 percent of the 400-member panel reports noticing the availability of more ethnic store brand items. But 69 percent of those surveyed report buying the same amount of ethnic private label offerings now as they did a year ago. An additional 26 percent report they are buying more private label ethnic foods than a year ago. Also, 68 percent expect to be eating the same amount of ethnic items during the next year as they are now.
Some promising trends were discovered in the exclusive survey, however. Younger shoppers are more apt to buy a higher percentage of store brand ethnic items than their older compatriots, good news as retailers try to sell to Gen Y. Younger age groups also rate the quality of private label ethnic items more highly than do older shoppers, the survey finds.
Consumer Science does exclusive quarterly consumer attitude surveys about private label for PLBuyer. This quarter, PLBuyer asked that the survey center on consumer attitudes about ethnic offerings.
Hispanic ethnic items were rated as the most often purchased, with nearly 80 percent saying they buy Hispanic items. The next most popular ethnic items are Italian and Chinese products, in that order. Sizable groups of respondents (who were allowed to give multiple answers to this question) buy Japanese, Indian and Greek foods as well.
“Unsurprisingly, there was a very high level of correspondence between the ethnicity of the respondent and buying that flavor profile,” Consumer Science reports in its findings for PLBuyer. “However, all ethnic groups reported buying a wide range of flavor profiles.”
Looking at the age of ethnic private label buyers, Consumer Science reports that “Generally younger age groups are more likely to buy a broader range of flavor profiles. In particular, the youngest age group, 18 to 34, is far more likely to buy Japanese, 42 percent vs. 22 percent for older groups, and Indian, 42 percent vs. 29 percent for 35 to 54 and 15 percent for 55+.”
More good news for retailers emerged when respondents were asked “When purchasing ethnic products at food retailers, what percentage of your purchases are store brands?” A majority, 52 percent, say that up to 30 percent of the ethnic items they buy are private label; 39 percent say 31 to 60 percent of their ethnic purchases are private label.
“The 18 to 34 age group reported 44 percent for 0-30 percent, 42 percent for 31-60 percent and 14 percent for 100 percent (private label ethnic purchases),” Consumer Science notes.
Price emerges as the main reason consumers buy private label ethnic items, as it does in most surveys of consumer private label buying patterns. Roughly 47 percent of respondents cited price as the main motivator of their ethnic private label purchases, followed by 24 percent that said quality. Only 36 percent of younger shoppers cite price, however, while 69 percent of those 55 and older say price is the main motivator for their private label buys.
Most respondents say they will be eating about the same amount of ethnic food next year as they did this year and “there was no significant difference noted amongst the demographic variables,” Consumer Science says.
Asked about buying plans, “A third of respondents expected to increase their consumption of ethnic items as store brand in the next year with two-thirds expecting to keep it about the same,” Consumer Science reports. “There was no significant difference noted among the demographic groups.” PLB
Consumer Science specializes in primary consumer research.  It utilizes a broad range of techniques and technology to customize research that delivers each customer the most value.
A qualified staff of researchers and moderators provide turnkey research, including study design, respondent recruitment and customized analysis and reporting. The offerings, combining traditional interviewing techniques and the latest technology, include intercepts, one-on-one, dyads, triads, focus groups, large sensory panels, in-home test, surveys, social media monitoring, video analytics and Web analytics.

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