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MIDA: Consumers cut monthly grocery spending by 14%

Manuel Reyes-Alfonso, executive vice president of MIDA, discusses this year's findings.

Manuel Reyes-Alfonso, executive vice president of MIDA, discusses this year’s findings.

Puerto Rican consumers have reduced the how much they spend on monthly groceries by 14 percent, to $425 from $492, representing a major challenge to local retailers, this year’s edition of the Puerto Rico Marketing, Industry and Food Distribution Chamber’s Consumer X-Ray study revealed.

The trade group known as MIDA released several of the findings in this year’s analysis, which for the first time included purchases of alcoholic beverages. Beer remains at the forefront of consumer preference, with 86 percent of surveyed participants — 1,350 in tall — saying they buy it, over 31 percent who buy wine and 25 percent who prefer sangria.

To better analyze Puerto Rican consumer trends, this year’s study segmented buying agents into four categories: familiar, planners, impulsive and adventurous, said Mario Rodríguez-Martínez, head of the Consumer X-Ray 2015 study.

As part of the most relevant data, the study found that 47 percent of respondents have cut back on eating out, and 38 percent have reduced their entertainment outside the home.

Manuel Reyes-Alfonso, executive vice president of the organization, said this data is added to prior year results, prompting the food industry to look at it carefully and consider options.

Meanwhile, the study showed that there is opportunity in the processed or pre-cooked foods sector, considering that 36 percent of respondents are taking lunch to work to save money.

Another first in this year’s study is that it looked into loyalty programs and rewards, validating the consumer preference for them.

“The findings point to a consumer that is more inclined to use savings and benefits programs that make their lives easier,” said MIDA President Ricky Castro-Ortíz. “Sixty percent of themsaid they used loyalty programs, over 18 percent who use coupons. In this last category, the study did not reveal any growth compared to previous years.”

The study provided a new vision of the motives consumer have to go shopping — 76 percent feel the need to go out and buy when you realize they are missing some products in their kitchen. In addition, most plan what they will eat for dinner the same day. The data revealed that 68 percent plan their menu always or most of the time when cooking, depending on what is available in the house.

The industry study also considered the migration of Puerto Ricans an important point for the food industry’s strategic decisions. The review showed that two out of 10 buyer agents is considering emigrating. Of those who are considering a move, three out of 10 are between the ages of 25 and 34, a fact that Reyes-Alfonso said, confirms what other studies have found: Young people are the likeliest to leave the island.

MIDA will reveal the full findings of this year’s Consumer X-Ray during its annual convention on June 3-7, along with the results of the “Portrait of the Food Industry” study.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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