Consumer Values Factoring Into Food Preferences, Spending

Consumers’ food choices increasingly factor in sustainability and other concerns, and these preferences can potentially play a role in their selections regarding edible promotional gifts. A recent study by Nielsen identified 16 topics and noted Americans’ interest and awareness, and while no one subject was embraced by the majority of consumers, buying local topped the chart at 46 percent.

Behind buying local, the decline in the bee population (40 percent), genetically-modified organisms (GMO) in food (35 percent), no-added sugar or a sugar reduction (33 percent) and antibiotic use in animal production (32 percent) led in consumers’ awareness.

Nielsen also found that consumers, particularly younger consumers, were interested in learning more about these issues. It found that 67 percent of consumers were interested in learning more about the decline in the bee population, 66 percent wanted to know more about pesticide and herbicide use in food production, 59 percent were interested in antibiotic use in animal production, 58 percent in food waste in grocery stores and 57 percent in buying local.

As for where they’re putting their money, Nielsen looked at the top 10 topics of interest by consumers in the study and found that during the 52-week period ending December 29, 2018, sales increases were seen in locally grown/sourced goods (3.6 percent), no-added sugar (1.8 percent), free from GMO (7.8 percent) and antibiotic-free (3.6 percent) products. And consumers’ awareness of the decline in bee populations comes as sales of bee byproducts, such as food items containing honey, have grown by 39 percent over the past year.

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