Organic, fresh, or affordable: What factors are guiding UK consumers in 2024’s fruit and veg market?
February 12th, 2024, Janice Fernandes

Organic, fresh, or affordable: What factors are guiding UK consumers in 2024’s fruit and veg market?

Recently we looked at Britons’ grievances when shopping in-person and factors that influence their choice of supermarket. But what are the factors that drive their purchase choices once they are in supermarkets?

Freshness tops the list as a priority for 80% of all respondents. However, price is not far behind with 79% of UK consumers picking it as an influencing factor. Both these factors remain key considerations across the board no matter the annual household income of consumers.

Taste takes third place with a significantly lower share, but still holds sway with 57% of respondents expressing its importance. The data shows an increase in taste significance as income levels rise, with 55% for the lower bracket versus 65% for the higher bracket.

Around a third of all respondents (35%) factor in seasonality when purchasing fruits and vegetables. A higher share of consumers with an income of £70,000 and over say seasonality is a deciding factor (42%).

Roughly a quarter consider the produce’s country of origin (25%). The data suggests that regardless of income, a similar share of consumers is conscious of the geographical source of their fruits and vegetables. 

Environmental impact holds less sway, with only 18% of respondents citing it as a purchase factor. Organic certification is a priority for 9% of respondents overall, with an upward trend as income increases.

While seasonality remains one of the top four factors influencing consumer purchase decisions,  the import industry challenges this paradigm, making most fruits and vegetables available year-round.

More than half of UK respondents (55%) say that this year-round availability is important to them, and consumers share this opinion regardless of their financial standing.

However, the desire for year-round availability raises an important question: Are consumers willing to pay a premium for imported produce? 

Around three in ten of all respondents (30%) say they are willing to pay a higher price for imported produce. But nearly twice as many say they are unwilling to take on these additional costs (66%).

Interestingly, even among those with a household income of £70,000 and over a year, while a slightly higher percentage (42%) are willing to pay more, a significant majority (55%) still express an unwillingness.

While some factors, such as freshness and price, resonate universally, others, like taste and willingness to pay a premium for imports, display subtle variations based on income levels.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on January 31 and February 1, 2024, with a nationally representative sample of 2,193 adults in the United Kingdom (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education, social grade and region to be representative of all adults. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Image: Getty Images