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Report: Shoppers Blame Government For Higher Grocery Prices

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New findings from national research by The Feedback Group reveal that shoppers hold government policies and actions most responsible for higher food and grocery prices at supermarkets.

In the study, 1,150 consumers rated a variety of entities and factors on a five-point scale, where five is “highly responsible” and one “not at all responsible”, as to their degree of responsibility for higher prices in supermarkets.

Government policies and actions received the highest mean score (3.86). Product manufacturers and suppliers scored second most responsible (3.75), followed by wars and worldwide political conflicts (3.42), supermarket retailers (3.40) and labor supply shortages (3.23). Factors viewed as least responsible were climate change (2.85) and farmers and growers (2.78).

“In this politically charged environment, supermarket shoppers believe that government policies are the leading influence on high [grocery] prices,” said Doug Madenberg, chief listening officer of The Feedback Group. 

“Product manufacturers and suppliers follow closely behind, while supermarkets are viewed as further down the list, along with other factors. More holistically, what emerges is a picture of multiple factors that the average consumer navigates, all contributing in various degrees to the price tag they face at the checkout.”

Perception versus reality

Grocery shoppers were asked, from the money spent at their primary store, how much they think is left for profit, after the store pays all expenses and taxes. 

On average, shoppers indicated they believe their primary store has a net profit of 31 percent, a slight decrease from the results the last two years of 35 percent (2023) and 33 percent (2022). 

According to FMI – The Food Industry Association, the average net profit for a supermarket has been close to 1 percent historically (and as high as 3 percent in 2020).

Message to supermarkets from shoppers

Shoppers were asked to rate if their primary supermarket is on their side when it comes to inflation, and also asked them to rate if their store is good at communicating why product prices have risen in the past few years. In both cases, on a five-point agreement scale, shoppers gave supermarkets relatively low scores of 3.23 and 3.01, respectively.

“Clearly, shoppers believe supermarkets could do more in terms of supporting them when it comes to fighting inflation, as well as communicating why product prices have increased,” concluded Brian Numainville, a principal at The Feedback Group.

“This is especially important in light of the inaccurate profit perception we continue to find in our research.”

The research findings are available on its website to supermarket retailers, distributors and other food industry companies.

About The Feedback Group

The Feedback Group offers a spectrum of research, consumer insight and consulting services. Its services include employee experience assessments, customer satisfaction programs and consumer perception studies, as well as national, regional and local shopper studies.

Read more independent and corporate chain store news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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