The 2015 Grocery Eye report is an annual study in its second year from market research organisation Future Thinking, which monitors the attitudes and consumption behaviours of 2,000 UK supermarket shoppers. Although younger shoppers valued organic products more than older consumers, only four in five bought fresh fruit and vegetables, compared to 96% of over-55s – and 16-34-year-olds were more likely to say they found it hard to get by on their food budget.
The researchers said younger shoppers’ attitude toward organic products was “surprising when factoring in the cost of organics”.
“There is an unjustified perception that millennials are not engaged with food compared to their older peers,” said Claudia Strauss, managing director of FMCG and Shopper at Future Thinking. “Whilst it is clear that their lifestyles and lower incomes result in their eating habits to be less healthy, millennials are more socially conscious than the older generations selecting brands accordingly.”
Younger shoppers were most likely to say confectionery was their favourite food category, chosen by 29% of under-35s, while 38% of over-55s said they most enjoyed shopping for fruit and vegetables. In general, the market researchers found younger consumers had less healthy diets, with just 28% saying they had healthy diets compared to 40% of older consumers.
Over-55s were also more likely to seek low salt (29%) and high fibre (23%) foods, compared to 14% of under-35s, while youngers consumers were more interested in convenient food packaging and were more likely to snack between meals.
Sales of organics in the UK suffered a five-year recessionary slump, but have since rebounded. Across the rest of Europe, organic sales increased 25% over the same five-year period, to August 2013.
The organic market represents 1.3% of total grocery spending in the UK. Denmark boasts the most developed organic market in the world as a share of total spending, where organic sales represented 7.6% of the total grocery market in 2012. Germany and France are the largest European organic markets by value, worth €6.6bn and €3.7bn respectively in 2013.