Australian shopping habits are changing rapidly to accommodate busier, more time-poor lifestyles, with new research suggesting that consumers’ fresh vegetable purchasing patterns are shifting dramatically away from having a routine towards making on-the-spot decisions.
The latest findings from Project Harvest, a consumer research study commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia, show that the proportion of Australians who purchase the same fresh vegetables every shopping trip as part of their routine has nearly halved – from 59 per cent down to 30 per cent.
This has been matched by a huge increase in the amount of consumers who make their purchase decisions spontaneously based on what’s in-store and available (leaping from 7 per cent to 29 per cent), or who purchase fresh vegetables with specific planned recipes in mind (jumping from 8 per cent to 22 per cent).
“With smaller, more frequent trips to the supermarket taking the place of the traditional shop for many Australians, we think there’s a strong connection between the changes to consumers’ decision-making and the changes to their overall shopping habits,” said Ausveg spokesperson Shaun Lindhe.
“Shoppers are increasingly thinking only one or two meals ahead – instead of shopping for a week’s worth of meals, they’re ducking in and picking up vegetables that can be used for tonight’s dinner or tomorrow’s lunch,” said Mr Lindhe.
“This is leading to these changes in their decision-making – instead of sticking to a routine, they’re buying what grabs their eye when they walk in the store, or buying what they need for the meal they’ve decided on during the day.”
The report also found that the amount of consumers who say they’re best described as buying fresh vegetables that they notice are on special or promotional pricing has dropped by more than 20 per cent, suggesting that there are a decreasing amount of shoppers for whom price is the primary factor.
“While price is always a concern for shoppers, these findings suggest that it’s becoming less likely to make or break someone’s decision to buy a particular vegetable,” said Mr Lindhe.
“Instead, we’ve found that the main motivator for consumers is the quality of their fresh vegetables, followed by its country of origin – which, in many cases, is used as an indicator of both the quality and safety of fresh produce.”