Customer Satisfaction With Groceries Surges To Highest Level In Four Years

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Customer satisfaction with nondurable goods that include many household products is rising, according to new data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The ACSI Nondurable Products Report 2016 includes food, soft drinks, personal care and cleaning products, breweries, apparel and athletic shoes.

The increase for nondurable products occurs as grocery prices have dropped for the ninth straight month. Customer satisfaction with grocery food surged 9.2 percent to an ACSI score of 83—its highest level since 2012, and the longest streak of food deflation in 50 years. In fact, the cost of eating at home has gone down as much as eating out has increased over the past year.

“Higher customer satisfaction for packaged food reflects the decreasing cost consumers see in eating at home,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and chairman.

Dole maintained its lead with an ACSI score of 86. General Mills moved up to second place at 84, alongside Mars, Hershey and Nestlé. Smaller companies, however, gained the most, rising to a combined score of 83, tied with PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats division and Kraft Heinz. Tyson (82) and Kellogg (81) are below the industry average. ConAgra is the only company not to improve, now tied with Campbell Soup in last place (both 80).

Customer satisfaction for soft drinks was up to 84, returning to a level typical for this industry as offerings expand to include “better-for-you” beverages such as organic teas, cold-pressed juices, protein and performance drinks, and coconut water. Despite posting a slight gain, Coca-Cola fell from first to last place as the rest of the industry improved more. A year ago, Dr Pepper Snapple Group shared the lead with Coca-Cola, but now it tops the category alone with an ACSI score of 86. In second place, smaller beverage manufacturers follow closely at 85. PepsiCo came in at the industry average (84), overtaking Coca-Cola (81).

In 2015, MillerCoors took the lead in customer satisfaction. This year, Anheuser-Busch InBev won the top spot with an ACSI score of 84. The company recently completed its multibillion-dollar acquisition of SABMiller, creating the world’s largest beer company. As part of the merger, SABMiller gave up ownership of the Miller brands by selling its 58 percent stake in MillerCoors, which scored an 81 on ACSI. Meanwhile, the combined score for all other smaller brewers, including craft breweries, took second place at 82.

Personal care and cleaning products edged up to an ACSI score of 83. Dial took first place at 85, followed by Clorox and Unilever at 84. Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble and the combined score of all other smaller manufacturers tied at 83, with Johnson & Johnson just below at 82.

Apparel customer satisfaction increased to 79 as the large manufacturers improved. Apparel prices have gone up by only 0.3 percent over the past year compared to a 0.5 percent average growth rate over the past five years. Hanesbrands leads the category alongside Levi Strauss at 81. Nine West and VF tied at 80, and the aggregate of smaller companies matched the average at 79.

A small boost in customer satisfaction for Nike (80) and a leap for Adidas (83) reverse their ACSI rankings as Adidas takes the lead. The combined score of smaller athletic shoe manufacturers is just below Nike at 79.

The ACSI report, which is based on 5,607 customer surveys collected in the third quarter of 2016, is available for free download here.

About The Author

A former newspaper editor and publisher who has handled digital duties for The Shelby Report since 2011. She once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.