Rising food prices have had an impact on consumer behavior, resulting in new choices being made in grocery stores. Vaasan has examined changes in purchasing habits over the past year, and the results reveal a concerning trend. An increasing number of Finns are forced to carefully consider their food purchases, which, for some, leads to unhealthy choices. However, by choosing nutritious alternatives, consumers can get the best value for their money.
Vaasan surveyed Finns about their consumption habits three times during the year 2022, with the most recent survey conducted in March 2023. Uncertainty about their own financial situation is evident in the results throughout the past year. In the spring of 2022, 35% of respondents reported at least considering their food purchases carefully. This spring, the corresponding figure had risen to 41%. In the December survey, among those who carefully considered their purchases, 42% felt that they had to make unhealthy food choices several times a week, and now that figure has increased to 48%.
"When the price tag determines the contents of the shopping cart, one can unwittingly gravitate toward a less healthy diet. This means consuming food that provides calories but may not contain enough nutrients. We have a responsibility to remind Finns of the importance of healthy food for their well-being and to offer affordable, nutritious, and easy alternatives," says Minna Cousins, Business Director at Vaasan.
Choosing nutritious options is the best way to get value for money when shopping for food.
It is not necessary to completely overhaul one's food shopping to ensure the intake of nutrient-rich food. The easiest way to make a change is to shift the foundation of everyday meals towards healthier choices. According to the survey responses, packaged bread is a staple for Finns and continues to be included in shopping baskets, even with closer attention to prices: 83% of respondents estimated that they would maintain their bread consumption over the next six months. By opting for whole-grain bread, one can obtain many essential nutrients and get the best value for their money. According to Vaasan's sales data, the share of fiber-rich and whole-grain bread has even increased, despite the tightening economic situation.
Nutritious food is also beneficial for the environment, as the resources required for food production are best utilized when used to produce highly nutritious food.