Consumer Trust Is Changing as COVID-19 Spreads GN

Consumer Trust Is Changing as COVID-19 Spreads

COVID-19 Primary Research Series Part 1

The COVID-19 outbreak is clearly influencing consumers' food purchasing behaviors. Glanbia Nutritionals’ new weekly consumer survey is continually tracking these shifts in consumer perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors around food and nutritional supplements. Glanbia is keeping its finger on the pulse of consumer trends and will be updating this information regularly to help supplement, food, and beverage manufacturers stay abreast of fast-moving developments in consumer behaviors. The key finding of the week: consumer trust is changing.

Consumers Trust What They Know

In uncertain times, when anxiety runs high, dependability becomes more important than ever. Our recent consumer survey revealed evidence of this, with a number of changes in consumer trust emerging. Consumers tend to trust what they know—and this includes well-known food brands.

Well-known brands are gaining back trust from consumers, and food safety is at the heart of it. While 66 percent of respondents reported no change in their level of trust in well-known brands, 27 percent indicated that their trust had increased during the past week. Thirty-one percent of respondents also have more trust now in the food safety of retail foods, compared to nine percent who have less trust.

Consumer Trust Is Changing as COVID-19 Spreads

Food Packaging Affects Consumer Trust

Another insight into consumers’ current perception of food safety is the importance of packaging. For 14 percent of respondents, trust in in-store bakery products declined (the largest decline in trust in the survey), while 22 percent reported an increase in trust. This split likely reflects the transition by many grocery stores to pre-packaging their open foods. This effort was seen across departments, from donuts in the grab-and-go bakery display to olives at the olive bar to trail mix in the bulk bins. 

Likewise, a consumer’s greater or reduced trust in bulk foods may correlate to the efforts of their particular grocery store in implementing pre-packaging. For eight percent of respondents, trust in bulk foods had decreased, but for 19 percent, trust actually increased. When asked directly about the pre-packaging of bulk items (including produce, deli meat, and hot bar foods), 42 percent indicated it had become more important to them during the last week. In addition, products with tamper-evident packaging became more important to 54 percent of respondents.

2 Consumer Trust Is Changing as COVID-19 Spreads glanbia nutritionals

Changing Importance of Other Food Attributes

Another food safety-associated attribute that increased in importance (for 33 percent of respondents) over the past week was country of origin. Global reporting on the status of COVID-19 has made it easy for people to track hot spots and has likely heightened awareness of goods that are imported from those areas.

Furthermore, several food attributes have become more important to consumers largely because they support stockpiling for quarantine and shelter-in-place preparedness. Products that are shelf-stable, are available in bulk or large pack sizes, or are on sale have become increasingly important over the last week to a large proportion of respondents.

Consumers Shift from Restaurant to Retail Foods

Dining at restaurants has decreased during the past week for 67 percent of respondents. For consumers in certain areas, mandated restaurant closures have removed restaurants as an option altogether. However, where restaurants remain open but with restrictions (e.g., no in-restaurant dining but take-out is permitted), consumers still have a choice.

glanbia nutritionals Consumer Trust Is Changing as COVID-19 Spreads

This is yet another area where we can expect consumer trust to influence food purchasing decisions. Fifty-nine percent of respondents in our survey reported spending more time cooking at home over the past week.

Get All the Insights

Glanbia's research on consumer trends and behaviors is ongoing. Our continuing survey also examines which foods and supplements consumers are buying, as well as where consumers are shopping and how their daily routines are changing in response to the circumstances of the day. Be sure to bookmark the Glanbia Nutrtionals blog to see regular updates of survey results as the COVID-19 crisis continues or contact Glanbia Nutritionals today to learn more about survey results.

Read Part 2 - Vitamin & Mineral Consumption is on the Rise During the COVID-19 Crisis.

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