Kiwi consumers are seeking out locally made food, as concerns about product safety and levels of additives in consumer goods manufactured offshore drive purchasing behaviour – according to the findings of a new survey.
The Munchkin study which investigated the attitudes and habits of Kiwi shoppers showed that more than two thirds (69%) of Kiwi consumers said country of origin for food products they ate was important to them.
Interestingly, this figure jumped to 86% for parents who had children who were of school age or younger, with almost nine in 10 of this group saying it was an important factor in deciding whether or not to give the product to their children.
The regional sales director for Munchkin Gary Hunter says the survey provides insights for food policy makers in this market.
“The one clear message from the research is that Kiwi’s care where their food is made. It provides consumers with an important level of reassurance of quality as well as allowing them to proactively support local suppliers,” he says.
More than half (54%) of Kiwis believe products sold on our supermarket shelves do not label their products adequately with enough country of origin details.
The research showed the majority two thirds, (65%) of New Zealand shoppers try to buy food or beverage products made in NZ from NZ ingredients as often as possible. A fifth (19%) said they always purchase food or beverage products that are made in New Zealand with locally sourced ingredients.
Respondents were also asked to provide the most important reason for knowing the country of origin of their food products, the most common response was a desire to support locally made wherever possible with more than a third (35%) giving this answer.
This was closely followed by concerns over food safety standards with another third (34%). Issues with chemicals, preservatives or additive levels was listed by a fifth (20%) of Kiwis. Taste preferences and environmental concerns about the distance the food has travelled were identified by 6% and 5% of respondents respectively.
When asked what product categories where country of origin labelling was important to them; meat and dairy products came up top at 96% and 95% respectively. This was followed closely by fruit and vegetables with more than nine in ten (92%) consumers stating this. Knowing the source of their tinned or glass bottled products and dry packaged goods was also important with 86% and 83% identifying this preference.
The survey also found that 95% of Kiwi’s indicated that given the choice, they would rather have dairy products from grass fed cows. Only 5% said they preferred products from grain fed cows.
The research was carried out in conjunction with the launch of the new Munchkin Grass Fed milk-based formula and toddler drink produced in Canterbury. .