Filipinos changing food buying habits

October 9, 2013 8:44 pm

Information and data provider Nielsen has found that Filipinos are changing their grocery buying habits as food prices go up.

In a statement, Stuart Jamieson, Nielsen Philippines managing director, said that consumers all over the world including Filipinos are affected with the rise of prices, which is altering consumers’ spending habits and demands.

“Rising food prices impact nearly all consumers. Instead of using income to gauge spending habits, fast-moving consumer goods [FMCG] companies should look at consumer diversity, spending flexibility and the consumer demand landscape to have better understanding of buying potential, and to accurately assess goods and services that can meet consumers’ needs,” Jamieson said.

The Nielsen study, titled “Global Survey of Inflation,” surveyed over 29,000 online respondents all over the world—with 500 Filipino respondents—to find out grocery buying behavior amidst adjusting food prices.

When it comes to spending in the Philippines, Filipino consumers’ buying of new clothes and accessories is much affected, with a 61-percent impact when food prices increase. This was followed by other areas such as dining out (59 percent), snack food spending (51 percent), recreation and entertainment spending (41 percent), and travelling or vacation (38 percent).

Meanwhile, food price hikes won’t affect spending for meals at home (65 percent), education (64 percent), medical maintenance (63 percent), savings and investments (52 percent), and overall housing that includes rent and utilities (40 percent), among others.

Food choices
Though food price hikes are likely, the study showed that Filipinos would spend more on fish and seafood (20 percent), followed by fresh or frozen fruits consumption (16 percent), and buying of organic food (15 percent). Food price hikes would also result in less buying and consumption of meat and poultry, bread and bakery goods, and dairy products.

“Seven out of 10 Filipinos would buy fewer products such as chips and other snack foods, carbonated beverages, candies, cookies and other sweets,” Nielsen added.

In terms of where they would purchase food products, Filipinos would be inclined to buy more from those that offer discounts, with 36 percent saying that they would go for discount or dollar stores; 30 percent to fresh food supermarkets; 25 percent at warehouse club stores; 20 percent to supermarkets; and 18 percent to hypermarkets.

Interesting enough, 32 percent of Filipino respondents also consider growing their own food, and 15 percent would prefer their local suki stores.

“Marketers should take note that as consumers feel the pinch, they look for ways to stretch their budgets and find the best value for money. It is important for marketers to identify retailers that will satisfy the unique demands of consumers,” Jamieson said.

While he said that consumers find best value for every cent, the survey further showed that 40 percent of Filipinos would purchase “only sale priced items.” Others said that they would stock up and buy items when items are on sale, or 36 percent. Meanwhile, there are those who would buy larger pack sizes to save, or 35 percent, and some would serve smaller food portions, or 20 percent.

The other 21 percent would consult the Internet for sale deals while 20 percent said that they would use social media to look for rice specials.

The Nielsen Global Survey study examined online respondents across 58 countries from February to March this year, coming up with the conclusion that 85 percent of the total 29,000 participants from around the world are likely to be affected in their consumer spending and grocery habits because of rising food prices.

Kristyn Nika M. Lazo