THE UNITED KINGDOM, London. Processed food manufacturers should enhance perceptions of freshness to narrow the gap between convenience and quality, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The pursuit for high quality, convenient food offerings remains a daily challenge for today’s time-scarce yet health-conscious consumers and many perceive there to be a trade-off between these two factors. This is evident in that as perceptions of convenience increase across food preparation categories, perceptions of quality decline.
Within the canned and frozen food categories, deemed as most convenient, quality perceptions were the lowest of all categories. According to GlobalData’s 2017 Q4 global consumer survey, 47% of consumers thought frozen food to be convenient but only 19% deemed it to be good quality. Similarly, 48% of consumers considered canned food to be convenient while only 16% deemed it to be good quality.
Processed food manufacturers face an uphill challenge in this respect to counter the overriding perception that fresh is the best quality, healthiest, and also superior in taste.
Jamie Mills, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Providing greater transparency in ingredient provenance and production methods could help enhance understanding of canning and freezing methods for example and the limited impact it has on the integrity of the end product in terms of quality and taste.” Similarly, leveraging claims which the fresh category is often characterized by, such as natural, organic and ‘free-from’ could also help alleviate the stigma attached to processed foods such as canned and frozen.
Mills concludes, “While these categories may not be able to compete with robust quality perceptions of fresh foods, enhancing perceptions of freshness within their respective categories could serve to give them the edge over their competitors in narrowing the gap between convenience and quality.”