High food prices impact grocery buying in Vietnam: Nielsen survey

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   A roadside market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre.

Seven in ten consumers in Vietnam say rising food prices will impact their choice of grocery products, according to an online study by information and insights provider Nielsen.

In-home food products were not the only areas of spending impacted by food price hikes.

Two-thirds of the respondents also said they would change their spending on dining out, followed by buying clothes (63 percent), recreation and entertainment (46 percent), travel/vacation (46 percent) and communications services (37 percent).

When asked about likely spending changes to specific food categories, 13 percent of respondents indicated they would buy more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.

More than half had no plans to change their spending on staple categories like meat and poultry (59 percent), fish and seafood (55 percent) and dairy products (54 percent).

Nearly two-thirds of all respondents said they would buy fewer candies, cookies, other sweets, and carbonated and alcoholic beverages.

"Food inflation impacts all consumer incomes," said James Russo, senior vice president, Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen.

"Fast-moving consumer goods companies focusing solely on consumer income as a barometer of spending habits, however, are unlikely to fulfill their business growth expectations because this is not a middle class only trend.

"By looking instead at consumer diversity, spending flexibility and the consumer demand landscape, FMCG companies can better understand real-world buying potential and more accurately scale goods and services to meet the needs of consumers in both developed and developing markets."

The survey found that food price hikes also impact where and how consumers shop. Almost a third of the respondents said they would grow their own food or shop more at clearance and discount stores.

More than half will shop same in fresh food markets (53 percent) while 47 percent said they would shop less in supermarkets, followed by convenience and outlet stores (40 percent).

During times of rising food prices, 40 percent said they would use social media to find promotions.

Thirty-five percent said they would stock up on regular use items when they are on sale, and 34 percent said they would buy only during sales.

The survey, done in February-March, polled 29,000 consumers in 58 countries.

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