Consumer Business

The changing drivers of food and beverage purchase decisions

Deloitte Food Value Survey

Around the world, the food and beverage industry is undergoing a seismic shift. In addition to poor retail sales data, there has been a marked, thought-out change in where and how consumers are spending, that has less to do with pocket-pinching in a tough economy.

Rise of the evolving drivers of purchasing decisions

Historically, shoppers have made purchase decisions based only on taste, price, and convenience— ‘traditional drivers.’ According to a US study, Capitalising on the shifting consumer food value equation, a series of ‘evolving drivers’ as a significant part of the purchase decision is growing. These evolving value drivers include:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Safety
  • Social impact
  • Experience and
  • Transparency (an overarching driver)

We believe that consumers are becoming aware of brands that emphasise elements such as being eco-friendly, organic and responsibly sourced.

Digital further accelerates these changes

Consumers’ well-documented digital addictions and growing tech savvy are among the key factors behind the shift in purchase decisions. Armed with smartphones and internet access, consumers now have reams of information at their fingertips – and the ability to share and explore this information amongst their trusted online networks and peers. As a result, it has become almost impossible for retailers and manufacturers to ‘manage their messaging’ and brand equity in the way that they have been accustomed to.

These types of consumer-led disruptions represent a unique opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to reset and dramatically reposition themselves in the market. It is also forcing brands and manufacturers to take greater responsibility for the role they play in consumers’ lives, and to consider where – and how – they can truly add value to lives.

How some retailers and manufacturers are responding

Indeed, major brands are taking concrete steps toward becoming more responsible corporate citizens in the food and beverage sphere. Our earlier Health & Wellness report found that members of the global Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) have made ‘steady progress’ in the implementation of the body’s Health & Wellness Resolutions and Commitments.

In South Africa and Africa, retailers, brands and manufacturers have an opportunity to influence and change consumer behaviour patterns for the better, particularly at a time when consumers are re-thinking their own values and core principles when it comes to responsible food and beverage choices.

Download the full Capitalising on the shifting consumer food value equation report for more on how consumers are disrupting the consumer value equation.

We welcome your feedback and thoughts. Contact Dylan Piatti below, to discuss any of the findings from this publication in more detail, and the opportunities these consumer-led disruptions present for local businesses.


Dylan Piatti, Africa Consumer & Industrial Products Chief of Staff
Twitter: @dylanpiatti

About the author

Deloitte South Africa

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