When it comes to grocery shopping, how much choice is too much?
Posted by: Caféstudy
26th Jun 2017 01:47pm
The Australian supermarket category is one that always generates a strong response. So when we asked you recently to tell us what you thought about Coles and Woolworths reducing the number of brands because their customers thought too much choice made their shopping decisions stressful, we knew you would have a lot to say!
There is no doubt that there is an element of truth to the idea that too much choice can be overwhelming. A number of you welcome the prospect of a quicker and easier shopping trip. As one shopper says; “I find many choices unnecessary and believe that many choices lead to higher prices as well as taking longer.”
However, it's not all so straightforward. The flip side of less choice is that favourite brands have become harder to find as they disappear from the shelves of the major supermarkets. People have already noticed that trusted Australian brands have been replaced by overseas-produced home brands.
“It annoys me the supermarkets giving us less choice. I noticed many years ago them cutting brands off their shelves. Golden Circle tin beans…Australian company replaced with foreign tins. They cut more brands and replace it with generics and cheap foreign rubbish.”
So while making choices simpler might be worthy, the supermarkets' idea of simplifying choice is not the same as yours.
"Life is easier if there are a few better and quality brands, rather than a few just ok brands which we keep ignoring."
This is already having an impact on shopping behaviour for many people. In order to keep buying favourite brands, many need to make multiple supermarket trips each week.
There are two big winners from this trend, and it’s not Coles and Woolworths. Fairly new competitor ALDI is viewed very favourably as it offers high quality home brands at cheap prices. However, as most people realise they can't do a complete shop at Aldi alone, independent supermarkets such as IGA and Foodland that still stock a wide (and different) range of brands are becoming more popular.
"The result of this is that I'm shopping at independent supermarkets quite often these days as and when I require things, rather than the traditional once-a-week shop."
The crux of it is that too much choice is only a problem when it means that shoppers can't find what they want. Supermarkets looking to reduce the number of brands on their shelves will need to be careful which brands they keep, to avoid forcing customers to start shopping elsewhere to find their favourite brands.