Majority of Estonians prefer local food products, study finds

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According to a new study by Kantar Emor and Eesti Toiduainetööstuse Liit (Estonian Food Industry Association), one in three Estonians opts for the cheapest products in supermarkets and almost 80% choose local products if their prices are not too high.

The propensity to buy local has remained stable over the past decade, while price sensitivity has increased in recent years, the study notes.

As a result, less environmentally friendly and less healthy products are added to consumers’ baskets.

The poll

Kantar Emor mapped customer preferences across 36 food categories to find out which products they prefer and how they buy those items.

The survey showed that people generally make a shopping list before going to the store, but the brand of milk, meat or cheese that ends up in the basket is determined at the store and depends on the contents and taste of the specific product (41%) and discount offers (30%).

Impulse purchases are higher for sweets, baked goods and bakery counters, various prepared foods, smoothies, energy drinks, potato chips and snacks, according to the survey.

Aivar Voog, senior expert at Kantar Emor, said brand loyalty is decreasing as stores offer a wide selection of food products and people are less loyal to a specific brand.

“When buying food, the most important thing is the taste of the food product and the discount offers offered in the store,” he added.

Price sensitivity

Rising food prices have led to greater price sensitivity among Estonian shoppers, with a third (31%) choosing the cheapest products.

The percentage of people willing to make concessions in their lifestyle has fallen by 7% in one year, and the willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly food products is also falling, the study notes.

The focus on health also declined, with 6% fewer people checking the nutritional value of food packaging compared to last year.

“Hybrid Crisis”

Eesti Toiduainetööstuse Liit chief Sirje Potisepp noted that food producers were unprepared for a “hybrid crisis”, involving the pandemic, labor shortages, energy crisis and price hikes. exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

Potisepp added: “In addition, we have another war, which we don’t talk about much, but which still significantly affects the fortunes of Estonian food producers, and that is the price war between commercial chains, in particular commercial chains belonging to foreign owners.

“The increase in the price of food products and production has not yet reached final prices, because a large part of the assortment of foreign trade chains consists of imported products, which artificially keeps prices low” .

Potisepp pointed out that although salaries have increased in Estonia over the years and the standard of living has increased, the average salary is not comparable to that of EU countries, especially old and rich countries.

She added: “The greatest help for food producers is in our hands as consumers and lies in our daily purchasing decisions – if you have to choose between two equal products in the store, one foreign and the other national, always choose the national product, because this is the only way to support the Estonian economy and ensure the survival of the Estonian food industry.”

Read more: Companies should be ‘heavily taxed’ for promoting unhealthy choices: NielsenIQ survey

© 2022 European supermarket magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click on subscribe register for ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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