Consumers willing to accept steeper prise rises for staples


Respondents to a recent survey said they would stop buying protein powder once the price had risen by an average of 17%, as well as 23% for probiotics, and 26% for dietary supplements

Consumers will stop buying a product when its original price has risen by an average of 40%, according to recent consumer research survey commissioned by Ingredient Communications.

More than 1,000 US and UK consumers responded to the price-sensitivity survey. As many as 94% of participants had reportedly noticed their food shopping bills going up in the previous three months, with 79% stating they believed supply chain problems such as driver shortages were to blame.

Respondents were then asked to select the point at which they would stop buying a selection of food, beverage and nutrition products due to price rises, using a scale of +5% to ‘I would buy this product whatever the price’.

Results indicated shoppers were more resilient to price increases for low-cost staple goods. For example, respondents were least price sensitive to milk, which could see a price increase of 65% before respondents would stop buying it. This was followed by bread, at a 62% increase, and fresh vegetables, at 60%.

Greater resistance was found with cost increases in nutrition categories, where the base price of products tends to be higher. Respondents said they would stop buying protein powder once the price had risen by an average of 17%. The corresponding pinch point was 23% for probiotics, 26% for dietary supplements, and 28% for Omega-3 fish oil supplements.

Survey findings also indicate consumers are happy to shop around in order to offset the impact of upward price pressures. Nearly half of respondents had switched to a cheaper brand in the last three months following price rises, while more than a quarter had changed to own-brand versions of the same product.

Richard Clarke, MD of Ingredient Communications, said: “For basic goods, even a large percentage price increase might still only be a matter of cents or pennies. By contrast, a small percentage increase in the cost of a premium nutrition product might be measured in dollars or pounds.”

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“In such challenging market conditions, brands will need to work hard to retain consumer loyalty. An effective way to achieve this is to demonstrate added value by using high quality ingredients that provide clear differentiation and command high levels of trust, whether that’s through proven efficacy, sustainability, strong co-branding, or a combination of these. These values, communicated effectively, will tie a consumer to a brand more closely, mitigating the impact of price increases on purchasing behaviour.”