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Nielsen: Fresh Foods Key Driver for Retailers’ Success

Sue Feng,, 010-5912-9195

The quality of fresh foods and the range of availability most important in consumers’ measuring of retailer equity

Beijing – September 25th – A recent global survey by Nielsen, a leading provider of information and insights into what consumer watch and buy, shows that in a measure of retailer equity, the availability of fresh foods was ranked among the top 10 drivers among 25 criteria measured throughout Europe and Asia. In particular, the quality of fresh foods and the range of availability were most significant.

China ranks high in consuming fresh foods

The report is based on an online survey of 29,000 consumers across 58 countries throughout the world. According to the survey, fresh food contributes 55 percent of total food, grocery and personal care expenses in China, ranking them third in the Asia Pacific region behind Vietnam at 64 percent and Taiwan at 60 percent. In Europe, fresh foods contribute 53 percent of expenses on average, in the U.S., 30 percent and in Latin America, 25 percent.

Though more than half (52%) of respondents to a 2012 Nielsen Shopper Trends Survey said that rising food prices affect the consumers’ purchasing of fresh foods, with meat and poultry categories impacted most (54%), fresh foods continue to perform well in all parts of the world, including China.

The report shows that Chinese consumers shop for fresh foods around three times per week, well above the global average of 2.5 times per week. Shopping trips are most frequent for fruits and vegetables (4.48 times per week) and least frequent for fish and seafood (2.39 times per week).

Wet market remain the most popular channel by enjoying the highest penetration among Chinese consumers

When it comes to shopping for fresh foods, as well as other foods and grocery, wet market in community neighborhoods remain the most popular among Chinese consumers. According to Nielsen China’s latest shopper trend report, as high as 91 percent of the total 8300 respondents claimed they have shopped at wet markets, followed by modern supermarkets (80%) and hypermarket (80%).

The shopper trend report also shows that for dairy products in particular, such as milk and yoghurt, more than 55 percent of survey respondents choose supermarkets as their most frequent shopping destination.

“Despite of a variety of emerging channels where consumers can shop for fresh foods, wet markets, thanks to their long tradition and the offering of cheaper-priced products, is still the most preferred by many Chinese consumers, said Brian Negley, vice president of Nielsen China. “But the convenient modern trade channels such as supermarkets and hypermarkets are growing in importance among Chinese modern trade shoppers, who are more affluent, educated, and always looking for high-quality products.”

Among one-third of Asia-Pacific Internet respondents in the Nielsen global survey, which skews to a more affluent, educated and younger demographic, modern trade supermarkets are a favored channel. The convenience of supermarkets and hypermarkets make these the stores of choice for buying dairy products (70%) and Delicatessen (62%).

Bakery regarded as most desired shop for bread and baked products

According to the Global Survey on Purchase Intention for Fresh Foods, in terms of the bread and baked products, bakery was the top shop by winning the favor from 47 percent of Chinese online respondents, which can skew to a more educated and younger demographic. The similar situation is applied to Asia-Pacific region as a whole, where bakery is the top shop for bread and baked goods by winning favor of nearly 40 percent of respondents.

Availability of fresh foods guides consumers on where to shop

Availability tops all other reasons when Chinese consumers are considering where to shop for fresh foods. The trend is especially obvious for the categories like meat and poultry (23%), fish and seafood (27%), fruits and vegetables (26%), bread and bakery (22%).

The offering of high-quality goods and convenience (both convenient to get to and save time) are also important factors taken into account by consumers when thinking where to shop for fresh foods.

Meanwhile, “having a wide variety of products” is very important for bread and bakery consumers (9%), followed by delicatessen such as meat and cheese (7%), dairy (6%), fruits and vegetables (6%).

“While modern trade fresh food shoppers are motivated by freshness and convenience, their view of these attributes are different than a traditional shopper,” said Brian. “Freshness relates to cleanliness and food safety and the belief that they can trust the quality of the products. Convenience is about one-stop shopping rather than location.”

The report also indicates that wet markets, where human connection can be best played to attract returning consumers, can’t be ignored. “As Asian retailers evolve from wet market to modern trade to specialty stores, it’s best for retailers to keep it fresh and maintain the integrity of the wet market feel, meanwhile, extend the fresh open market experience to all store formats with vibrant arrays of high-quality products coupled with an on-hand trustworthy and knowledgeable staff ready to answer questions and offer advice” Brian noted. “Ensuring high-quality standards and effectively communicating the importance of food safety is the key to winning more consumers.”

As cultural shopping habits and preferences around the world vary, so does where and why we shop at favored retail channels for fresh foods. Nielsen’s information result shows that by linking fresh foods with complementary products from other store departments by sparking ideas for meal planning, giving recipes for desserts and offering suggestions for entertaining, the retailers are likely to win more shoppers who appreciate freshness, fastness and convenience.

Top 10 Retailer Store Equity Drivers

According to the Nielsen Shopper Trends, which was focused on European and Asian markets, there are top 10 factors key to driving retailer store equity, they are:

  1. Enjoyable shopper experience
  2. One-stop shopping
  3. Well-stocked inventory
  4. Good value for the money
  5. Pleasant store environment
  6. Excellent customer service
  7. Wide variety of products
  8. High-quality fresh food
  9. Wide range of fruit and vegetables
  10. High-quality premium brands.

About the China Shopper Trend Report (2012-2013)
The China Shopper Trends Report findings are based on a nation-wide survey covering 38 cities of all tiers with a total sample size of 8,300 respondents aged between 15 and 65. The survey is conducted with face-to-face in home interviews from Dec. 18, 2012 to January 20, 2013, providing a comprehensive overview of retail environment trends in the fast-moving consumer goods retail environment, and in-depth analysis of shopping patterns across different trade sectors.

About Nielsen
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit