Aussies are cutting out their favourite treats as cost-of-living crisis surges in what we are calling the great Snack-rifice!

It’s no secret that rising inflation rates are having an impact on Australian households, with 86% of Aussies now employing cost saving techniques to help stretch the grocery budget further in 2024, according to new research conducted by NielsenIQ for POY. The findings have indicated that nearly one in two (45%) Aussies are switching to home brand options in order to make these savings. Alongside this, 3 in 5 are making the ultimate “snack-rifice” and removing indulgent foods and snacks like chocolates, desserts and premium nuts from their shopping lists, in order to cut down costs.

However, over 5,000 Australian shoppers have had their say and cast votes for their favourite supermarket and everyday products, in the annual Product of the Year Awards (POY) for 2024. The world’s largest consumer-based awards program is now in its 15th year in Australia, recognising product innovation, and serving as a shortcut for shoppers, saving them time and money when finding the right products.

Whilst Aussies might be cutting back on these indulgences at home, the expectation now falls to employers to provide these, with half of Australians (48%) believing that workplaces should purchase snacks for staff, with 90% of young working professionals believing this should be mandatory as bosses look to keep morale up and keep people in the office environment.

Price / Affordability remains the key decision factor when deciding to buy a new brand or product, being a key consideration for 88% of Australians. Many Australians are also influenced by the source and quality of the ingredients (74%) and the health credentials of new products (65%).

Aussies are on a mission to save whilst they shop, and how they are doing this is good news for big grocery retailers! For 2024, the leading number of Product of the Year category awards were taken out by supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths for their home-brand, deli and bakery products, with Coles taking 19 of the 44 award wins, and Woolworths taking home an impressive 10 product prizes.

A group shot of the 19 Coles products that won Product of the year like biscuits, meats and snacks.

With Aussies feeling the pinch of the rising cost of living more so than ever, this is having a trickle-down effect into the way they make their shopping decisions, with many switching to home brands and lower cost alternatives, as well as opting to do their shopping at a sole retailer, in order to avoid overspending across multiple stores. Other cost-cutting tactics Aussies reported also included switching to cheaper cuts of meat (42%), cutting back on food delivery (40%), consuming more home-cooked meals (40%) and reducing food wastage by eating leftovers (38%).

“The rising cost of living has definitely changed the FMCG landscape, with afford-ability and ease being the leading driver behind the way Aussies shop. The NielsenIQ findings highlight how Australian consumption habits have shifted considerably, with the cost-of-living crisis echoing through many households. Whilst snacks and treats were commonplace in the shopping trolley before living expenses started to increase exponentially, these are now classed as luxury items rather than a need, with many shoppers viewing snacks as a low priority when it comes to feeding the family.”

Sarah Connelly, Product of the Year Director

The POY winner’s trends are demonstrating that many Australians have health and sustainability as added priorities whilst they tackle the great Snack-rifice, with quality and the source of ingredients ranking high in their consideration set, shown by winners such as the Coles Joyful Protein Bar Range, and Woolworths Macro Pasture Raised Carbon Neutral Eggs, to name a few.

Shoppers also gave Woolworths the nod as the leading retailer with the best selection of fresh, healthy, and organic products. However, value based supermarket chain Aldi has come out on top as the most affordable. This year, Product of the Year was thrilled to welcome beloved household brands back into the winner’s pool, including the Zero Gravity Mattress from Emma Sleep, Hydralyte Plus and Aussie home-grown brand Koala Sleep for their Kirribilli Bed Base and Sofa Bed.

Mama’s top picks from this year’s winners:

Check out all the Products of the Year winners here:

Shoppers can be confident when buying Product of the Year category winners as they undergo a rigorous testing process. A panel of judges, comprising of various industry experts, first tested the products for quality, credibility, and innovation. The resulting product finalists were then reviewed and voted on by 5,000 Australians. The NielsenIQ research that determines the winners involves evaluating these consumer responses by using their six key innovation criteria which include:

  1. Relevance – Is the product fulfilling a need or addressing a problem?
  2. Uniqueness – Does is stand out and bring something new to the category?
  3. Excitement – How excited are they to use the product? Would they spread the word?
  4. Likeability – Does it deliver what you want?
  5. Distinctiveness – Does it add something new to its category?
  6. Innovation – Is it an innovative product?

How are you tackling the great Snack-rifice?

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