Deloitte’s new 2011 Consumer Food and Product Insight Survey reveals that nearly 9 in 10 survey respondents (87.7%) believe prices in food stores are escalating and almost three-quarters (74%) say the size of some packaged goods is smaller. Consequently, savvy consumers are purchasing more private-label and store brand products. More than three-quarters of respondents (75.3%) purchased lower-priced products and nearly 2 in 5 respondents (39.6%) added more private label products to their grocery bags.

"Higher prices, smaller package sizes and pain at the pump are driving consumers to buy lower-priced grocery items," says Pat Conroy, vice-chairman, Deloitte LLP and the U.S. consumer products practice leader. "That's why now more than ever it is important for consumer products companies to strengthen their customer relationships and distinguish value ahead of the competition."

Consumers desire "front-of-package" Nutrition Facts

Nearly one-half of respondents (49.3%) agree that packaging that displays a row of standardized icons called "Nutrition Keys" on the front of the package with standard ingredients listed on the back would be very helpful for purchasing decisions. Some companies are currently doing this on a voluntary basis. The survey also found that more than half (51.1%) of food shoppers read the ingredients on unfamiliar food items.

"The front-of-package findings, coupled with survey results showing that consumers are trending towards healthier food purchases, presents a tremendous opportunity for consumer products companies that are willing to enhance their nutritional transparency," says Conroy. "Consumer products companies that use healthy ingredients and are willing to share nutritional information on the front of the packaging can strengthen their customer base amongst a growing faction of consumers."