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The One Thing Your Customers Really Want
Sustainable. Local. Kosher. Fair Trade. Organic. They show up as separate marketplace trends. But they are all driven by one underlying consumer desire: the quest for quality.

Mintel just released research showing that the #1 reason why consumers buy sustainable foods and beverages is because they believe they are better quality. That’s closely followed by the desire to take care of the planet, and concerns about food safety.

That mirrors findings about the local trend. Americans choose local produce because they believe it is higher quality. Supporting the local economy is the second most important driver. Interestingly, “smaller carbon footprint” is a ways down the list of perceived benefits.

I won’t bore you to death with all the details, but there are similar studies about kosher, organic, and fair trade certified products. Perceptions of superior quality are a key reason for purchase, and are sometimes more important than the original claim. For instance, 60% of consumers buy kosher products to get higher quality, while only 14% buy them for religious reasons.

Consumers’ mental connection between certifications and quality has huge implications for marketers. It’s easy to focus all our marketing on product claims and our story. But it’s equally important to reinforce that we deliver superior quality too.

We should think about...
  • Have we spent enough time understanding our consumers’ purchase drivers?
  • Are we correctly balancing marketing messages about our claims/certifications and our product quality?
Sources: Choices 2010; MediaPost 2010; Mintel 2010
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