Dec 12, 2022
Study into the Year’s Most Impactful Food News Reveals UK Consumer Concern
• ‘Food Costs’ is the most important UK food news topic from 2022 (chosen by 68 per cent).
• ‘Supermarkets Slashing ‘Best Before’ Dates’ on fresh produce tops Brits’ list of the most memorable food stories from the year, with more than half of the country aware of this development (56 per cent).
• Food news stories relating to the cost-of-living crisis had the greatest impact on consumer behaviour, with almost half (48 per cent) changing the way they shop to save money, and more than a third (36 per cent) altering the way they cook to reduce costs.
• ‘Saving Money on Groceries’ rather than the perennial pledge to eat more healthily becomes the nation’s top food resolution for 2023.
LONDON, Dec 13, 2022 – As 72 per cent of Brits agree food news is important, HUNTER – a leading food and beverage marketing communications consultancy – today reveals the cultural significance of food stories on the UK, as the media fuels mounting anxiety around grocery shopping inflation. Examining the top food news from the year, the 2022 HUNTER: UK Food News Study questioned respondents about their awareness of each item, whether the news changed their opinion or behaviour and whether they shared the stories with others, among other related topics.
The results are a direct reflection of the tension consumers faced in 2022 with food waste, the cost-of-living crisis and supply chain issues dominating the top five most recalled stories. Sustainability solutions leads the list with over half the nation (56 per cent) stating ‘Supermarkets Slashing ‘Best Before’ Dates’ on fresh produce in a bid to reduce food waste, is the top food story of the year. This is closely followed by the cost-of-living and its negative impact on Brits’ shopping baskets at the check-out as the price of food soars.
Top Five Stories:
- Supermarkets Slashing ‘Best Before’ Dates (56 per cent)
- Inflation Affecting Grocery Shoppers (52 per cent)
- Food Shortages Due to Strikes (41 per cent)
- Cadbury Shrinkflation (36 per cent)
- Free-range Egg Shortage (34 per cent)
Since 2003, HUNTER has commissioned the only annual longitudinal study of its kind to identify the top food news stories according to the opinions of Americans. Expanding to the UK for the first time in its 20th year, the 2022 HUNTER: UK Food News Study in partnership with Libran Research uncovers the top ten most significant food news stories for Brits, with a glance into the impact of food news on society on both sides of the Atlantic.
Cultural Importance of Food News
The results show the influence of food news across the entire consumer ‘engagement continuum’, which measures change of opinion, behaviour and advocacy. Most Brits are aware (88 per cent) and are likely to change their beliefs (56 per cent), act (55 per cent) and share (41 per cent) from at least one of the top food news stories of the year.
‘Inflation Affecting Grocery Shoppers’ is the food news story with the greatest impact on behaviour; almost half (48 per cent) of Britons changed the way they shop to save money and more than a third (36 per cent) altered the way they cook to reduce costs. The focus on food prices is also reflected in the nation’s New Year’s resolutions as ‘Saving Money on Groceries’ comes in at number one, with 30 per cent putting it to the top of their self-promise list, right ahead of the more typical pledge: ‘To Eat a Healthier Diet to Lose Weight’ (28 per cent). ‘Food Shortages Due to Strikes’ and ‘Supermarkets Slashing ‘Best Before’ Dates’ were the second and third stories that impacted consumer behaviour the most.
Among those sharing stories, the water-cooler winners were ‘Inflation Affecting Grocery Shoppers’ (87 per cent) and ‘Supermarkets Slashing ‘Best Before’ Dates’ (81 per cent), as these were more likely to be discussed with friends, family or co-workers than shared via social media. The eighth most recalled story of the year, ‘Reducing Food Waste’ as well as the eleventh, ‘Ultra-Processed Foods are Under the Microscope’, drove the highest change in opinion for almost three quarters (72 per cent) of respondents.
While ‘Supermarkets Slashing ‘Best Before’ Dates’ is the ‘most recalled’ news item of the year in the UK, food costs takes top spot for ‘most important’ food news topic across all demographics questioned (68% per cent), but more notably amongst baby boomers and post-war Brits (72 per cent). The topic is expected to continue into 2023, as Britons overwhelmingly see the cost-of-living crisis as the story that will persist into next year, an opinion held even more strongly by older generations (79 per cent vs. 70 per cent average).
“Great Britain’s relationship with food has always been deeply embedded in its culture, with Food News playing the important role of both mirroring and further shaping opinions and behaviours surrounding the most salient societal issues of the moment,” says Heddy DeMaria, Chief Insights and Strategy Officer at HUNTER. “In its first year of measurement in the United Kingdom, the 2022 HUNTER: UK Food News Study shows the top food news stories are a direct reflection of the tension and macro issues consumers face around food waste, supply chain shortages and inflationary economic conditions.”
The top five stories all gained initial recall more often through traditional TV (34 per cent average), followed by newspapers (18 per cent average) and finally social media (15 per cent average) and websites (15 per cent average). However, there were clear generational divides as younger people favour social media and streaming services such as podcasts, while older consumers stick with traditional media, such as television, newspapers, and radio for their information.
Other findings include:
Greggs x Primark partnership ‘baking’ headlines among millennials and Gen Z: TOP BRAND MARKETING STORY
While not in the top five stories, Greggs’ partnership with fashion retailer Primark came close to ‘baking the cut’, ranking at number 6 on the list. However, for millennials and Gen Z respondents, the leftfield foodie x fashion partnership whisks up to second position with almost half (45 per cent) of this age group remembering this story and rises among the top recalled food stories on social media (46 per cent).
Feeding the Feed: MOST SHARED STORIES
The most shared story of the year was designer Anya Hindmarch’s Ice Cream Project – a concept store serving up a cool collection of unexpected flavours – from Heinz Baked Beans to Worcestershire Sauce – with over half of the nation (52 per cent) stating they might or have shared the story, and almost half of them passing the original article on to others, the highest of any food article passed on in its original form. Meanwhile the story most likely shared on social was the trend for butter boards with half of the people sharing this article (50 per cent) admitting they had posted about the latest culinary craze.
Brits Keep it Clean: PURCHASE MOTIVATORS
Among specific potential purchase motivators, Britons are most influenced by a clean ingredient list (33 per cent) followed by external influences like trends (11 per cent), influencer recommendations (8 per cent) or celebrity endorsements (6 per cent).
A Bite of the Big Apple: HOW THE UK COMPARES TO THE US
2022 marks the first year the HUNTER Food News Study was conducted in the United Kingdom, allowing for a comparison between the impact of food news on Americans and Brits. Almost every consumer in both countries seeks food information on recipes, nutrition, and general food news, but primary source recall of food news stories shows Americans are more reliant on social media (32% US vs. 24% UK), with the UK disproportionately favouring newspapers (5% US vs 16% UK). The study also found Brits cook more often at home (56 per cent), compared to Americans (40 per cent) while eating out or getting take-out is more prevalent in the U.S. (27 per cent) than the UK (16 per cent).
HUNTER: London’s Managing Director, Daisy Pack concludes, “Food plays a significant role in the lives of Brits. Little wonder then as supply chain woes, avian flu and inflation negatively impact our shopping baskets, we’re getting ‘hangry’. Despite this sombre tale, clever collaborations and leftfield partnerships are cutting through for influential millennial and Gen Z audiences. Brands which bring light-hearted relief or respond to the current culinary crisis by bringing budget-friendly bliss back to the table will successfully earn attention for the right reasons in 2023.”
Notes to editors:
Top recalled food news stories from 2022:
- Supermarkets slashing ‘best before’ dates – 56 per cent
- Inflation affecting grocery shoppers – 52 per cent
- Food shortages due to strikes – 41 per cent
- Cadbury shrinkflation – 36 per cent
- Free-range egg shortage – 34 per cent
- Greggs partners with Primark to launch clothing line – 29 per cent
- Healthy eating to live longer – 16 per cent
- Reducing food waste – 16 per cent
- Veganism continuing to rise in popularity – 15 per cent
- Despite cost-of-living crisis, luxury prevails – 12 per cent
- Ultra-processed foods are under the microscope – 12 per cent
- Pancake day recipes – 12 per cent
- The latest social media food trend: butter boards – 12 per cent
- Fake sourdough bread – 9 per cent
- Nando’s abiding to obesity laws – 9 per cent
- Designer Anya Hindmarch introduces unusual ice cream flavours – 5 per cent
- Peter Andre sharing Beyond Meat and other flexitarian recipes – 4 per cent
Founded in 1989, HUNTER is an award-winning consumer marketing communications firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles and London and a footprint across North America. Beginning with research-driven consumer insights, Hunter executes strategic, integrated programs that build brand equity, increase engagement and drive measurable business results for consumer products and services. The 240-person firm employs a powerful blend of marketing solutions including strategic planning, social and digital media, talent and influencer engagement, media relations, experiential and multicultural marketing, and content creation and distribution for all platforms and channels to consumer attention on behalf of some of the world’s best known and most beloved brands. Opening its London office in 2015, HUNTER has proven expertise driving consumer engagement through social and influencer campaigns, helping brands identify and appeal to new audiences and developing advocacy programmes with leading category luminaries. The agency is a member of Stagwell Inc. (NASDAQ:STGW).
ABOUT THE STUDY
The 20th Anniversary Edition of the HUNTER: Food News Study commissioned by HUNTER examined the top food news stories of 2022 in terms of awareness, consideration, intent and advocacy. The study also explored the top media sources for food information broken out by recipes; general food news and nutrition; food shopping and cooking behaviors; and food personas. Data was reviewed by key demographic group, as well as the age cohorts of Millennials/Gen Z, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers/Matures.
To conduct the study, HUNTER partnered with Libran Research & Consulting, who surveyed 1,001 Americans and 1,000 residents of the UK aged 18 years and older via an email invitation and online survey. The respondent sample was balanced to the U.S. population on key demographics. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. For the interviews conducted in this study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points. The survey was implemented Oct. 11 to Oct. 17, 2022, covering the 12-month period from November 2021 through October 2022.
Top 20 food story inputs for the survey are identified via a 3-STEP PROCESS:
- HUNTER monitors food news stories all year across all media channels, to capture all potential food news stories showing high levels of engagement
- This broader list then gets further screened down through extensive analysis comparing each article’s published counts and share-counts
- The final selection criteria then applies a filter to ensure the finalized list is representative of all food news categories covered during the year, as well as representative of all news mediums.
Visit the 2022 HUNTER Food News Study Website for Study Results: https://www.hunterpr.com/foodstudy2022/
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Contact: Beth Lewis – firstname.lastname@example.org, 07446940792