Consumers' Food Consciousness Ranks "Price" First
February 17, 2009
The "Consumer Trend Survey" conducted by the Japan Finance Corporation revealed that 34.6 percent of consumers placed financial issues as their top concern, a 7.4 percent rise in comparison to the last survey administered in May 2008. Consumer concerns over "safety," which ranked first previously (May 2008), declined by 9.6 percent. Consumers' interest in food safety remained strong; however, an economic downturn changed consumers' priorities, indicating that they increasingly preferred not to spend as much on food.
Information consumers considered the most important was "price," recording 49.8 percentage points. Their concern about "safety through traceability" gained more percentage points; in contrast, their interest in "local specialty foods, gourmet restaurants, and seasonal foods" declined.
Additionally, consumers demanded price reductions on all of the surveyed items. Premium value of domestic products versus imported ones indicated a slight decrease. Consumers' impressions of imported foods by country are as follows: imports from China, Asia, and the US are "reasonable, however there is a safety issue"; foods from the EU and Northern Europe are "safe, but expensive"; and lastly, food products from Australia and New Zeeland are "inexpensive and safe."
With regard to four fresh food items, 70 percent of consumers indicated that "they would purchase more domestic products, once their prices were lowered." In the categories of frozen vegetables and processed foods, 50 to 60 percent of consumers reported that "they would prefer to buy more products of domestic raw materials, when their prices were reduced."
In a survey on rice, consumers responded that "price" was the most significant deciding factor. Their decision to increase consumption of rice over bread and noodles declined to 19.7 percent from 40.8 percent. The survey result uncovered that there was room for a growth of rice consumption in breakfast and lunch.
The original article was published on February 17, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.
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