Research: the price has to be...right

ASDA'S AGRICULTURE manager Chris Brown was at the congress and provided delegates with an overview of the UK consumer. He highlighted the major factors that were driving consumer behaviour in the UK market, drawing on research conducted in 2005 by grocery think-tank IGD.

Brown pointed out that while price featured heavily as one of the top five drivers behind a purchase decision, with 72% of respondents putting it in their top five, only 11% considered country of origin to be a significant factor. About 51% of consumers said they did not mind where their food comes from, with just 18% actively seeking British, even if it is more expensive.

A further 29% said they would prefer to buy British, but only if it was the same price and quality as other sources. He highlighted the work Asda has been doing on its Lamblink scheme, in conjuction with Welsh Country Foods, which involves 4,500 farmers and features a variety of benefits, from free transport to the abattoir to rapid payment within 48 hours.

Looking to the future, he identified premium products as an area to watch, with increasing demand for top-tier products, driven by the growing view of food and cooking as a leisure activity. Service was also vital, he added, with retailers having to make life as easy as possible for customers.


Brown said the present supply chain was fragmented and isolated. His idea of the perfect supply chain included:

¦ open structure

¦ many input options

¦ mutual importance

¦ category leaders at each stage

¦ transparent accounting

¦ commitments for all involved

¦ efficient, open communication pathways

¦ flexible, robust, pace-reactive qualities

¦ process innovators

¦ product innovators

¦ mutual ethical and production standards

¦ encouraging producers' scale and efficiency

Cultural attributes needed are

¦ cost reduction strivers

¦ non-blame environment

¦ success rewarders

¦ target and profit-driven

¦ best informed

¦ dissatisfaction with the status quo

¦ good co-operators - happy to share knowledge