Research from Roy Morgan shows that food safety is more important to consumers than a supermarket's proximity to home, product range or prices.
Fifty-seven percent of grocery buyers aged 14 and over listed food safety standards as a very important factor when deciding where to shop, followed by a close proximity to home and good value, both of which came in at 55 percent (see graph below).
Echoing the demand for high food safety standards, 53 percent of consumers listed hygienically prepared foods and a clean and tidy environment as very important factors.
Convenient trading hours, low prices and good quality fresh fruits and vegetables are very important to 54 percent of shoppers, while ease of parking (51 percent) is more important than the range of fresh fruit and vegetables on offer (47 percent).
Other factors include:
- Clean and functional trolleys (43 percent),
- Range of brands (42 percent),
- Weekly specials (41 percent), and
- Being able to buy everything there (37 percent).
Less than one in four grocery buyers say discounts for regular shoppers or petrol discounts are a central reason they choose a particular supermarket.
Warren Reid, group account manager – consumer products, Roy Morgan Research, said consumers are going to have a greater number of retailers to choose from in the near future, and those that best understand what consumers want will be at a significant advantage.
"With Aldi soon to open in SA and WA, Costco planning five new stores across Australia by the end of 2014, and Metcash undergoing a strategic review of its wholesale trading terms, the supermarket industry will see increased competition in the next 24 months.
"Understanding customers and the factors they say are important when choosing a supermarket is going to be even more critical than usual."
However, Reid said consumers have different priorities depending on where they shop.
"Food and hygiene factors rank high for Coles and Woolworths shoppers, price and value for Aldi, and convenience for IGA. Therefore growth strategies for each supermarket should take these differences into account," he said.