What Drives F&B Purchases in NZ’s Major Export Markets

As a result of disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer attitudes and behaviours have changed, so it is now more important than ever for your business to understand shopper behaviour.

NZTE partnered with Kantar, a global research and insights agency, to break down the key purchase drivers of shoppers in six major export markets. An online survey with household shoppers in January/February 2021 was conducted to examine what’s driving purchases within eight different F&B categories and 29 sub-categories, including:

  • Meat - beef, lamb, pork, chicken
  • Fruit and vegetables - apples, kiwifruit, berries, stone fruit, everyday vegetables
  • Dairy - milk powder, milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, infant formula
  • Seafood - white fish, salmon, lobster/crayfish, shellfish
  • Alcoholic beverages - wine, beer, spirits
  • Non-alcoholic beverages - soft drinks, juice
  • Sweet snacks - healthy snacks, packaged baked goods, chocolate
  • Vitamins, minerals and supplements/Mānuka honey

Report Findings

There are eight key purchase drivers across all markets.

  • Tasty: these purchase decisions are driven by the taste/flavour of a product/brand.
  • Affordable: driven by price – affordability, value for money and associated with lower value purchases.
  • Trusted brand: trust in the brand and is associated with well-known brands.
  • Safe product: having belief in the safety of the product/brand.
  • Healthy: making a healthy choice and belief that consuming the product is a healthy choice.
  • Fresh: these choices are based on how fresh the product/brand looks.
  • Ethical: driven by ethical, environmental or social issues.
  • On trend: driven by environmental/organic trends and how this makes them appear to others.

Market Differences

What drives purchase decisions differs across markets so the way your offer is constructed and communicated will need to be tailored to your target market to ensure product-market fit and command the greatest premium potential.

For example, China is influenced by health and safety; Japan by health, taste and freshness; Singapore contains a broader spread of drivers, while Western markets are more driven by affordability, taste and trusted brand.

Ethical and on-trend purchase drivers tend to deliver higher value

Ethical and on-trend purchase drivers can command a potential premium. For example, these drivers combined make up 23 percent of share of occasions in the US, but in terms of the value, it delivers this jumps up to 45 percent, with similar premiums seen in other markets for these segments, suggesting these segments can command a premium. If we look at the flipside, in Australia for example, tasty and affordable drivers combined make up 40 percent of the market but only deliver 23 percent of value.

To effectively connect with consumers driven by ethical values, it’s important to be authentic and highlight what your company stands for, its environmentally friendly/sustainable production, animal welfare practices (free-range, grass-fed etc), and relevant certifications (BCorp, certified organic etc).

There are five pathways to shift from volume to value

Focusing on organic trends and being authentic with sustainability credentials isn’t the only way to deliver premium potential. Leveraging health and safety qualities and having a strong brand with compelling storytelling are also key to delivering premium potential in specific markets and categories.

Taste is also critical to get right as if products don’t taste great, consumers won't buy them – relying on messaging around taste alone does not deliver a value add, it’s simply something F&B products need to deliver on.

New Zealand’s key strengths to highlight:

  • environmentally friendly
  • taste
  • health
  • quality
  • safety.

We aren’t as well known for our animal welfare practices as we could be – this is an important feature of the ethical purchase driver and needs to be communicated in order to drive a premium within categories where this is relevant.

You can learn more at my.nzte.govt.nz