Across the pond, companies struggling to get shoppers to purchase brand-name produce

Carly Fink and Jordin DeSenzo

Produce brands not only have fierce competition from other brands, but also from private-label fruit and vegetables. In the last two years, inflation has impacted the cost of produce, further challenging brand-named produce. Companies need to fully understand the impact of inflation on consumers, and what they are looking for in their products to convince them to purchase brand names.

Provoke Insights, a full-service market research firm and brand consultancy, conducted a biannual nationwide study of just over 1,500 Americans, asking the following questions:

  • What is the impact of the economy on overall shopping behaviors?
  • Which shoppers are familiar with brand-named produce?
  • At what rate are they purchasing generic labeled produce?
  • Why are shoppers choosing generic labeled produce over brand-named?
  • Where would shoppers like to learn about brand-named produce?


The annual inflation rate has hovered around 7% since 2021, which is significantly higher than the previous years. Americans are feeling the effects of this increase, especially in the grocery store (85%). While perceived supermarket inflation peaked in 2022, prices at grocery stores are still perceived as extremely high. Boomers (95%) and those living in rural areas (92%) are the most in tune with price increases while grocery shopping.

Skyrocketing prices are especially prevalent in supermarkets, causing consumers to take a step back and reevaluate their grocery store bills. While most Americans state they are doing “OK” in this economy (35%), only half of Americans state that they can save money in 2023 (50%). Compared to 2020, almost twice as many people are planning to carry a balance on their credit card (34%).

As a result, it is not surprising that those who eat fruits or vegetables every day (70%) are significantly more likely to be in a good financial situation (79%) and have a higher household income (76%). Those who eat fruit every day are also significantly more likely to be parents (58%) from the Northeast (59%), while significant vegetable eaters are older demographics (64%) from the West (65%).

Despite the monetary anxiety consumers are facing, the population’s affinity toward produce remains strong. Over a quarter (32%) of Americans eat a healthy diet to destress. Additionally, over half (54%) of Americans eat fruit daily. and one-third eat vegetables daily.


The vast majority (90%) of supermarket shoppers are familiar with brand-named produce items. Parents (98%) and those from higher-income households (98%) are even more familiar with brand-named produce brands. Wealth correlates with familiarity, as shoppers who do not know about brand-named produce (10%) are significantly more likely to be in a poor financial situation (16%).

While there is a high awareness of brand-named produce, only 45% of the produce that is purchased are brand-named items. Price is the primary reason for purchasing generic items (31%), especially among those who are in poorer financial situations (78%).

Affluent individuals are not buying brand-named produce, as they do not see a quality difference between the two (39%). Limited availability of brand names (25%) is also a barrier among high-income (32%), urban shoppers (33%). Parents also share the same sentiment (31%).


Americans prefer to learn about brand-named produce items most often from television (31%), followed by in-store demos (28%), coupons (27%), in-store displays (21%) and social influencers (16%). Gen Z (26%) and Millennials (22%) are more likely to want to learn from social influencers. Baby Boomers are more attracted to coupons (32%) and in-store demos (37%).

However, other media, such as billboards (2%), radio (4%) and magazines/newspapers (5%), are not favorable for learning more about brand-named produce items. These should be used sparingly in comparison to the more popular platforms to maximize advertisements.

Provoke Insights is a full-service global market research and brand strategy firm. The Ridgewood, NJ-based firm solely focuses on research for branding, advertising, and content marketing initiatives. Provoke Insights empowers brands with the insights they need to navigate the cluttered marketing space and improve ROI. Carly Fink is the firm’s president and head of strategy and research. Jordin DeSenzo is an assistant market researcher and strategist.



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