10.11.11 Supermarket grazers hit retailers's hip pockets

10.11.11 Supermarket grazers hit retailers's hip pockets

Consumers are munching their way through the fresh food aisles hurting retailer profits with new research exposing us as a nation of supermarket grazers who help themselves to free produce while shopping.

A new nationwide online Newspoll survey of 1,214 adults between the ages of 18-64 shows almost half (46%) of respondents taste food in the shop without paying. Younger Aussies are the main culprits with
18-34 year olds more likely than those aged 35-64 to sneak a bite.

Table grapes are number one on the menu (41%) followed by cherries (23%), nuts (22%) and surprisingly, snow peas and green beans (12% each).

It all boils down to trying before you buy as the main reason to pick at food with a good majority, some 81%, claiming it helps them to decide if they want to take it home.

Three quarters of those surveyed (75%) also admitted to pinching food because they were curious about the taste, a third said they simply couldn’t resist while three in ten said the tasty morsels were easy to grab and eat.

Shoppers on the east coast (Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland) are the worst offenders with approximately half in each state owning up to nibbling in the aisles. People in South Australia/Northern Territory and Western Australia are the more honest lot with only three in ten and four in ten confessing to trying food respectively.

With the Australian table grape season now underway, Chairman of the Australian Table Grapes Association, Nick Muraca, said he suspects there’s going to be a lot of grazing happening in shops over the next few months.

“I’m not surprised that grapes are the pick of the bunch,” he said. “It’s just one of those things people want to sample. We don’t mind if they taste a couple, but if they go back for more without buying, that’s when it becomes stealing and our hardworking farmers and retailers lose out.”

Mr Muraca said munching on a grape or two is the best way to test the sweetness and quality and with steady rainfalls producing a promising yield, consumers will not be disappointed.

“Australian growers are renowned for producing the highest quality table grapes thanks to our deep rich soils, climate diversity and sophisticated horticulture practices, so now is the time to Munch-A Bunch-A Grapes while they’re available.

“Refreshingly delicious table grapes are truly Australia’s little super snack, bursting with flavour and jam-packed with healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,” he said. “The best thing is, they’re great for sharing and easy to carry in a snap-lock bag, so you can have them anytime, anywhere.”

Table grapes contain a number of nutritional benefits including natural fructose to provide energy and vitality, fibre to help cleanse and detoxify the system and Vitamin C to help maintain a strong immune system. Grapes also have a low GI certification from the Glycemic Index Foundation.

More than 2000 growers produce about 120,000 tonnes of table grapes each year, with nearly half of the bounty sent to an increasing number of markets around the world, making grapes one of Australia’s top horticulture exports.

Fresh home-grown table grapes are available for six months from November, with the season peaking in February and March and closing in May.

Early season produce comes from the Northern Territory, Queensland (St George, Emerald and Mundubbera) and New South Wales (Bourke and Menindee). Late season grapes, which constitute 70% of production, come from the Sunraysia region of Victoria (Mildura and Robinvale). Western Australia produces table grapes for the majority of the season.

What do you think? Is it ok to munch on grapes in the supermarket? When does tasting become stealing? Join the conversation on Twitter #munchabunchagrapes or #stealinggrapes
Newspoll results at a glance

• Almost half of respondents (46%) admit to pinching food in the shops in the last 12 months.

• Younger Aussies are the main culprits with 18-34 year olds more likely than those aged 35-64 to sneak a bite.

• 41% of respondents confessed to having tried some grapes at least once while grocery shopping in the last 12 months followed by cherries (23%), nuts (22%) and surprisingly, snow peas and green beans (both 12%).

• Results show men were more likely than women to sneak any of the listed foods, with the exception of grapes.

• Grapes are by far the food people try most often with 28% claiming them as the food they most regularly reach for while shopping.

• The two most common reasons for trying food were helping to decide whether to buy or not (81%) and wanting to see that they tasted like (75%).

• A third of respondents said the food looked so nice they had to try it while 28% said the tasty morsels were easy to grab and eat.

• Aussies on the east coast are the biggest offenders with VIC coming out on top (50%) closely followed by NSW/ACT (49%) then QLD (48%). People in SA/NT and WA are the more honest lot with only 29% and 36% owning up to sneaking a bite respectively.