The 42 million affluent food shoppers with household incomes of $150,000 or more exercise an outsize influence on the U.S. food industry, reports Affluent Food Shoppers by Packaged Facts. Where affluent consumers grocery shop, how they grocery shop, and which food and beverage products and brands they purchase cause them to have a disproportionate impact on the bottom line of brick-and-mortar supermarkets and grocery stores.
When it comes to brand preference, many brands that are popular among affluent food shoppers share certain specific characteristics. Natural and organic brands garner much of the attention, but affluent consumers also seek out brands that tell authentic stories or have reputations rooted in simplicity and ingredient conscientiousness. These consumers are much more likely to be drawn to small brands that market their products based on simplicity, honesty, freshness, local ties, Fair Trade, eco-friendliness, and philanthropy.
Some of these are small brands with a single-digit penetration of the total population of food shoppers that depend heavily on the patronage of affluent food shoppers. For example, only 2% of all food shoppers using rice or rice dishes choose the Near East Brand. However, 41% of food shoppers who do use the brand are affluent. Other examples of brands with single-digit use by all product users and an exceptionally high proportion of affluent users include Rao’s spaghetti sauce, which is used by 2% of all food shoppers and has a user base that is 37% affluent, and Nishiki (1% of all users and a user base that is 37% affluent).
Another shared characteristic of many of these brands is their value profile. For example, Rao’s and Near East both self-identify as “simple” foods with the fewest ingredients. Annie’s Homegrown promotes “honest food” from “trusted farmers,” while Fage uses “the finest and freshest ingredients” that start with “the freshest milk from local farms that share our belief.” Talenti travels “the world over to source the finest ingredients.” Clif Bars are “kitchen crafted” and made by a “family & employee owned” company.
Philanthropy is another common thread. The KIND Foundation aims to “foster kinder and more empathetic communities,” while Newman’s Own (which has four products popular with affluent food shoppers) donates 100% of its profits to charity. Ben & Jerry’s backs Fair Trade initiatives and environmental causes.