I had the chance to watch some qualitative research with consumers to measure their responses to rising prices in grocery stores. I have the topline findings with the CPG’s permission, and they will set back many brands.
The panels, which were done online, consisted of people who were the “primary shoppers” for their families’ grocery products. They had to have annual incomes above $60K per year. Here are the topline findings:
1ne: Everyone is feeling the effects of rising prices. They used words like “shocked” when describing the total at checkout.
2wo: Rather than choosing the “same brands” in several categories, many said they were either looking for alternates or choosing not to buy certain products as they were not considered “essential” anymore.
3hree: They blame brands for the higher prices, although some said that stores paying higher wages passed along the increased costs.
4our: They thought that after the pandemic, a “return to normal” would mean that their incomes (raises) would go further, but a majority said that even with raises and bonuses, they don’t feel like “they made any progress.”
5ive: A significant portion said they are now comparing prices on products they frequently buy and that they have noticed that some brands are making package contents smaller while increasing costs.
6ix: Coupons, both digital and FSIs, are being by almost everyone to save money.
7even: To many, the price increases haven’t stopped, and the rise in gas prices is causing them to rethink how they buy products.
I sensed feelings of anger and frustration in almost everyone. They’re beginning to feat that things may never go back to their definition of “normal” and that, despite pay increases, they’re still being left behind. It wasn’t any specific categories either. One woman complained that the pinwheel steaks she usually buys for her family cost $12.00 apiece now when they used to cost seven or eight dollars.
I also heard that they blame the price increases in “government ineffectiveness.” They don’t believe that corporations “have the right to make more profits.”
Finally, asked by the moderators at the end of the research, “would price increases make you switch brands?” the response was overwhelming “yes.”