A look at the latest developments gaining traction locally and internationally.
The endless thirst of Australia’s bottled water drinkers
The environmental attitudes of people who drink bottled water do not differ dramatically from those who don’t, according to findings from Roy Morgan Research.
One-quarter of Australian survey respondents aged 14 and over say they drink bottled water in an average seven days – a steady proportion since 2010.
While these consumers are slightly more likely to believe that “environmentally friendly products are overpriced” (70 per cent versus 67 per cent of non-bottled water drinkers) and slightly less likely to agree that “at heart, I’m an environmentalist” (58 per cent versus 61 per cent), they are also slightly more likely to believe that “if we don’t act now we’ll never control our environmental problems” (79 per cent versus 77 per cent).
While the green beliefs of bottled-water drinkers and their non-drinking compatriots are not as dissimilar as one might expect, their consumption of non-alcoholic beverages in general varies considerably.
“Our data shows that people from Generations Y and Z are not only more likely than other generations to drink bottled water in an average seven days, they are also more likely to consume other beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit juice and sports/energy drinks,” Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine said.
“While above-average proportions of these younger generations believe that ‘bottled water is better to drink than tap water’, many also agree that ‘if I hear of a new drink, I will try it’. Clearly their thirst is not easily quenched.”
The tables have churned
Butter has overtaken margarine as the spread of choice among Australian grocery shoppers, according to data from Roy Morgan Research.
Fifty-one per cent of surveyed grocery buyers aged 14-plus purchased butter in an average four-week period last year, up six per cent since 2010, while 49 per cent bought margarine (down nine per cent).
The spreads are following converse paths in popularity, with butter buying up and margarine down every year since 2010. Hybrid dairy spreads/butter blends are holding comparatively steady, with research indicating they are now purchased by 29 per cent of grocery buyers in an average four weeks, just below the five-year average of 30 per cent.
People who purchase butter are more likely than margarine buyers to enjoy cooking, entertaining spontaneously and trying new and exotic foods. They are also more likely to try to purchase additive-free, organic and non-GM food. Healthiness is a goal – but not at the expense of taste, with these shoppers more likely to trust brands more than private label, compared with margarine buyers.
On the other hand, those who purchased margarine in the past four weeks are more likely to prefer to clean than cook, to buy frozen or chilled ready-made meals, and to be concerned about their cholesterol levels and weight. They are more likely to buy the same food every week and have traditional meals at home and, while they appreciate taste, focus more on the end result rather than the ingredients. These shoppers are more likely than butter buyers to buy more private label than well-known brands.
Roy Morgan Research Group Account Director Angela Smith says broader trends over the past few years may be influencing the changing habits of grocery buyers choosing between butter and margarine.
“Australians are becoming more health-conscious and aware of fat content, more concerned by additives and genetic modification, and more interested in cooking and entertaining,” she said. “Both groups of buyers care about the health value of the foods they buy, but in very different ways. Margarine buyers are more likely to be concerned with cholesterol and fat, while those buying butter are more likely to be concerned with finding additive-free, organic and genetically unmodified groceries.
“Given the pros and cons of each type of spread, it’s interesting that the hybrid butter blends have not performed more strongly. Perhaps they’re not considered healthy or convenient enough for margarine buyers, nor creamy and decadent enough for butter lovers.”
Painkillers a popular purchase
More than 10.5 million Australians, or 55 per cent of the population, purchase headache/pain relief tablets or capsules in an average four weeks, according to findings from Roy Morgan Research.
People living in the country are slightly more likely to buy them than capital-city dwellers, with 57 per cent of surveyed country residents aged 14 and over buying painkillers in an average four weeks last year, compared with 53 per cent of their capital city counterparts.
A higher proportion of Queenslanders (60 per cent) buy painkillers compared with residents of other states or territories.
“Upon further investigation, we also find that Queensland residents are 16 per cent more likely the average Australian to suffer from frequent headaches and 15 per cent more likely to suffer from migraines,” Roy Morgan Research Group Account Director Angela Smith said. “This would almost certainly contribute to their above-average tendency to buy painkillers.”
People living in Darwin/Alice Springs (57 per cent) are also marginally above average in purchase incidence, while those living in Tasmania (51 per cent) are the least likely to buy painkillers in any given four weeks.
Across all states and territories, in city and country areas, Panadol is Australia’s most popular brand of headache/pain relief tablet or capsule, followed by Nurofen.
“Readily available at chemists (the most popular place of purchase), supermarkets (almost as popular as chemists) and even discount stores, headache/pain-relief tablets and capsules are purchased by 55 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over in any given four-week period,” Roy Morgan Research Group Account Director Angela Smith said.
“Whichever way you look at it, the Australian pain relief market is enormous and represents an excellent opportunity for brands to grow their share with the help of some well-executed, targeted marketing.”