“The food market in Turkey shows growth especially in organic and functional products despite the economic contraction. We can say that global trends associate quality in food with health and packaging. There is a tendency towards locally sourced products in the world. In Turkey, locally sourced products will gain more importance in 3-5 years.”
In the world and in Turkey, the increase in food prices is changing consumer preferences towards organic-functional foods. Regardless of their economic status, consumers prioritise the price-quality balance and determine their preferences according to these criteria.
It is also reflected in the researches that consumers pay more attention to packaging and labelling than before. Especially in food preferences, 90.6 per cent give importance to the brand.
The food market in Turkey shows growth especially in organic and functional products despite the economic contraction. We can say that global trends associate quality in food with health and packaging. There is a tendency towards locally sourced products in the world. In Turkey, locally sourced products will gain more importance in 3-5 years.
Consumers prioritise healthy nutrition and do price research
Price increases in food led consumers to pay attention to the price-quality balance. Consumers have now discovered the importance of reading labels while looking at the packaging in food. While 51 per cent of consumers do price research when purchasing products, 45 per cent look at the cost-benefit relationship. The rate of those who consider the nutritional value and read the label information is 44 percent. Globally, 54 percent only shop from brands they trust. While 57 per cent of consumers conduct extensive research, 51 per cent want a specially designed product.
The brand can speak for itself in packaging
The ever-increasing prices in food started to raise consumer expectations from the product. User experience has also become quality orientated. The quality awareness of the user is increasing. In order for food brands to be sustainable and maintain their brand reputation in the eyes of the consumer, there should be no difference between the quality perception and experience of the user. If there is a difference, the consumer loses confidence and changes his/her preference options.
When deciding to buy a product in food shopping, consumers care 88 per cent that the content and information of the product is complete and accurate. Consumers pay the most attention to product information in milk and dairy products, white and red meat delicatessen products. When deciding to buy a product in food shopping, 89 per cent of consumers care about the completeness and accuracy of the product content and information.
The consumer’s effort to understand the price-quality balance pushes them to pay more attention to packaging and labelling. Packaging and labels are at least as important as other channels for quality communication because the brand can speak for itself through packaging. Packaging and labels are also an important source of information globally. We see that information sources are shifting to more single-source sources. Recommendations and user comments are increasing.
Brands do not tell the truth
72 per cent of consumers say that they have never heard of the concept of traceability in food before. In other words, the consumer is just discovering traceability. While only 27 per cent of consumers say that they trust the information on the product, 83 per cent want more detailed information about the products. With these figures, citizens warn us that ‘brands do not tell the truth’. The most important element of trust for consumers is that the information is conveyed impartially through reliable and observable channels. In the perception of quality, providing documents/certificates/evidence is not enough for the consumer without providing trust.
The brand needs to be transparent to ensure consumer trust. Although the share of those who read the quality statements on the packaging is increasing in our country, that is, even if the user follows documents, certificates and content, his/her knowledge about what these are is not at an ideal level. To explain it numerically; 77% of users think that having a certificate is very important, but only 44% think that they have information about these certificates.
Quality perception communication is being rediscovered every day in the food sector. I find meetings such as seminars and workshops organised on this subject very valuable for the development of the sector. In this sense, we will approach “Quality on the Shelf” from the perspective of Consumer Trends and Sustainability at the “Quality and Product Experience Seminar” hosted by Istinye University on 23-24 November 2023.
There should be no difference between perception and experience
Citizen preferences determine product quality perception. Talking about the average quality expectation of the food sector is not enough to create quality perception. When managing quality perception, we should invest in every stage of the process. There should not be much difference in quality between the perception given before the user experience and what the user experiences afterwards.
Trust and consistency are also emotional concepts that can be achieved with quality. In order to create the perception of quality, it is of great importance for the brand to decide which type or types of quality to emphasise.