Quality beats proximity in consumer habits in a pandemic




“We are facing an increasingly demanding consumer who also protects his health through food.” It is one of the main conclusions launched by the members of the Consumers Associations Participation Table (MPAC) after knowing the results of the fifth edition of the Survey on Consumption Habits and in which for the first time, quality (57%) prevails over proximity (51) and price (44) regarding the main factors that lead citizens to choose a certain commercial establishment to make their purchases. The reason? “Probably” due to the global health crisis caused by the pandemic and in which the excellence of a product is also equated with safety.

The arrival of the Covid and its consequences, including a long confinement and the closure of sectors that still persists today, would also be behind other of the answers offered by the 3,500 families questioned throughout the national territory. Thus, despite the fact that four out of ten citizens did not change their shopping habits in this period, health (21%) and economic (21) issues would have led to substantial variations. Another effect of the present moment is the fact that four out of ten respondents – the highest percentage in the five years of life of the study – affirm that they never eat or have dinner away from home, something that the members of the Table attribute more to reasons of security than of economy.

Online purchases increased by more than three points also as a result of the outbreak of the pandemic, “A new habit, acquired out of necessity, which has been consolidated in 6% of consumers” askedAccording to some associations that consider that the citizen “has adapted” to the new situation.

In any case, more than half say they walk to make the purchase and supermarkets maintain their predominance as the usual place to do it (64%) with slight increases in small businesses, specialized stores and markets, the latter to a lesser extent. With a lower percentage in searches for offers and a decrease in those who reduce their spending on food, those who diversify their purchase for economic reasons do increase (19%).

Slightly more than half feel uninformed about food and mass consumption. Although the main “source” continues to be the product label, the percentage of those who “track” on it falls to its lowest level. –Those who look at it for their place of origin grow and those who take into account the expiration date fall–. Aware in the vast majority of cases of the binomial food and health, the proportion of those who know if their habits are healthy does not stop decreasing either.

The Participation table is a discussion forum that seeks to better understand the consumption habits of the population of Spain. It is composed of Fernando Moner (president of CECU); Gustavo Samayoa (president of FUCI); Manuel Martin (UNAE legal officer), Juan Moreno (Secretary General of CAUCE) and Clara Medina (Coordinator of the MPAC and Director of Relations of Mercadona’s Consumer Associations).

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