ST. LOUIS -- A total of 96% of American mothers plan to make changes to their food-buying habits in 2013. That's according to the results of a national survey of more than 1,000 mothers conducted by Fleishman-Hillard and TheMotherhood.com. The study, Cart to Kitchen 2013: Slicing Into Moms' Food Decisions, identified key drivers behind moms' consumer behaviors in meal planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation, as well as changes food marketers should anticipate in 2013.
It also uncovered insights about the food influencers and media channels moms trust most when it comes to making food-buying decisions.
"Moms are turning to their peers online and off for information about food--from general to more specific information about genetically modified organisms, pesticides and other food safety topics," said Kristie Sigler, senior vice president at Fleishman-Hillard. "This study showed that moms place higher priority on the opinions of bloggers and peers than that of experts like doctors and dietitians--an important takeaway for food marketers."
The results found that organization appears to be a pain point for moms, from shopping to meal preparation. Moms indicated that in 2013, they want to be more organized in how they shop (41%), and they want to make fewer trips to the grocery store (33%). Additionally, they would like to be more organized with weekly meal planning (67%) and make meals ahead and freeze them (51%). Moms are looking to food brands to help them become more organized.
Nutrition is another key focus for moms, whose list of desired 2013 food-purchase changes starts with a drive to buy healthier food. More than half of the moms surveyed said they started that behavior in 2012 by reducing purchases of snacks, sugar, processed foods, soda and carbohydrates. And 49% of moms want to buy less processed food in 2013, particularly moms younger than 30.
Further, 50% of moms said they are reading more food labels now than they have before. In fact, reading food labels is a behavior of the majority, with 78% saying they read labels. Another 15% does so "sometimes," particularly those who cook dinner at home four or more times per week. They are looking for ingredients they want to consume less, including high fructose corn syrup, sugar, artificial dyes and gluten.
Moms also revealed that technology is prevalent in the kitchen. Only one-fourth of moms said they don't use any technology in the kitchen while cooking. Of the three-fourths of moms who said they use technology while cooking, sources such as AllRecipes.com (25%), Pinterest (19%) and FoodNetwork.com (15%) ranked highest.
Beyond these websites, moms rely upon food-based TV programs and the online counterparts of food magazines.
"We found it interesting that more than three-quarters of moms are watching food programs on TV and reading food media websites, and nearly three-quarters have signed up for food brand emails, considering these are not all 'foodie' moms, but everyday meal-preparing moms," said Cooper Munroe, co-founder of TheMotherhood.com. "Food brands must evaluate how they are using these trusted channels to deliver the right messages, mom to mom."
Liz Hawks, founding co-chair of the agency's marketing-to-moms team, said, "We know that, overwhelmingly, moms don't think major brands are relating to them and their unique needs. Brands can bridge the gap by starting with facts, moving to insights and ending with ideas that will drive moms' food purchases, even in the face of so much change."