Despite Price Frustrations, Grocery Shoppers Willing to Pay for Quality

But high prices, portion size could be dampening subscription meal kit sales
Meal delivery kit

When it comes to grocery shopping, consumers are irritated by high prices, yet many are willing to put those concerns aside if they are buying high-quality items that could be good for their health, suggests a survey by online grocery delivery service Good Eggs.

Good Eggs surveyed 821 consumers to get their views on grocery shopping. When asked about their greatest frustrations with the chore, 67% of respondents said price was their biggest concern.

Yet there were certain items respondents were willing to spend more for: items that tend to be healthier for them. Specifically, shoppers were willing to dig deeper into their pockets when paying for organic vegetables (38%), organic fruit (37%), grass-fed or responsibly raised meat (33%) and coffee (27%). Consumers also appeared to be more concerned about their kids’ eating habits than their own, since 34% said they would be willing to spend more money on anything their children ate if it was of higher quality.

Price, portion size, subscription hassle of meal kits off-putting

Price concerns may also be putting a damper on the market for mail-order meal kits, the study found. Most respondents — 93% — did not currently subscribe to services such as Blue Apron and SunBasket, which send consumers instructions and all the ingredients they need to prepare high-quality meals at home. In fact, 23% of those surveyed have subscribed to meal-kit delivery services in the past but no longer do.

The services are even losing favor among millennials who are likely to be their biggest customers, according to data analytics firm The NPD Group. The Good Eggs survey found that nearly 40% of millennial respondents once subscribed to them, yet 30% no longer do.

The biggest problem consumers have with such services is price — 66% said they are simply too expensive. About half — 51% — of respondents said they only want to spend $15 to $20 for a meal that would serve four people. It’s not unusual to find a kit serving four people to cost more than $8 per serving, which would average out to about $32 per meal.

Interestingly, women are more concerned about the cost of meal kits than men, with 75% of women saying they are too expensive compared with just 58% of men.

Price wasn’t the only downside of meal kits, according to the survey. Forty-one percent of respondents said ‘no’ to mail order kits because portion sizes were too small, while 41% said they don’t like the hassle of having to manage the subscription from week to week.

For many families, the grocery bill can be one of the biggest expenses, and depending on your shopping habits, it can fluctuate from month to month. Yet, planning meals in advance and having an understanding of average food costs can help you keep your grocery spending under control. You can also save money by using coupons and watching for store sales, leaving more room in your budget for higher-quality items that you would be willing to spend more for.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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