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Eighty-four percent of consumers believe that grocery prices have risen in the past three months and 62 percent believe restaurant prices have risen.
That’s among the findings of the most recent consumer sentiment and behavior survey from Technomic Inc., the Chicago-based food industry research firm,
During the same time period, 50 percent of consumers believe packaged food sizes have gotten smaller and 32 percent believe the same thing has happened with restaurant portions. The two main reasons why consumers think package and/or portion sizes have gotten smaller are the desires of food and restaurant companies to enhance profitability and to keep retail prices the same when costs rise; only 10 percent attribute the downsizing to improving the products’ healthfulness.
Technomic also found that very few consumers noted any decline in the quality of packaged foods and/or restaurant meals.
Technomic EVP Bob Goldin said he believes that the rapid rise in gas prices, now at record highs, has raised consumer sensitivity to price increases in grocery stores and restaurants. “Consumers are deeply concerned about the price of gas, which they expect to continue to rise,” he said. “As a result, they are very likely to reduce their spending on groceries and restaurant meals and increase their reliance on coupons and deals.”
Goldin also notes that consumers have become more aware of total value, of which package/portion size is a key component, and urges food and restaurant companies to be sensitive to the risks of downsizing.
Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.