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Free From Consumers Value Product Loyalty

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Gluten and wheat free consumer spending is heavily based on trust rather than price, promotions or advertising, according to research by the leading gluten and wheat free specialist, Dr. Schär UK.

As part of a focus group study commissioned by the free from specialist, gluten and wheat free shoppers were questioned about their shopping habits and what they wanted from the sector - with consumers admitting that they often took so much care finding a product that was right for them that once they had, new products or promotions were unlikely to encourage them to shop around.

In fact, the research conducted by an independent agency found that loyalty to products outweighed that of brands and manufacturers, with many of the gluten free consumers choosing to buy products on their taste, quality and ingredients rather than price and brand, then purchasing habitually once they found a product they liked.

Gluten free consumers were also less likely to switch to different products from advertising and in-store displays and instead used doctors, dieticians, friends, other sufferers and retailers' online shopping sites as sources of information about products. 

Emma Herring, Retail Brand Manager at Dr. Schär UK, said: "Many gluten and wheat free consumers have learnt not to instinctively trust new products and so rely on heritage products and brands that they know well.

"This research is an important insight into the changing gluten free consumer and their purchasing behaviour."

There were four common key reasons for consumers purchasing free from food including convenience, key staples, favourites, and kids. Many consumers admitted that they often bought products which ensured their families and children on a specialist diet do not feel marginalised at mealtimes.

Meanwhile, poor packaging put some shoppers off from trying new products as they were left confused over which products were suitable for those on a special diet. Instead, respondents suggested a universal colour coding system to be worked across all free from brands to help make it easier to see who each product was suitable for.

Finally, the focus groups also revealed that gluten free shoppers were willing for retailers to help them manage their diets and wanted to see more sampling events, point of display initiatives such as recipe cards and price point promotions such as rollbacks.

Emma added: "We have always known that our customers are very loyal and this research shows why.

"In this economic climate, it is even more important to reward consumers - which is why we regularly reward our customers' loyalty through below the line promotions and direct mail containing money-off coupons to our database of more than 150,000 shoppers across the UK.

"Furthermore, we also support our customers with our free 'Discover' Magazine which contains recipe ideas, articles and coupons, and we run Gluten Free World Day Events across the UK so that gluten free consumers can come along to learn more about cooking with gluten free food, and to try our new and existing products."




Notes to editors:


  • Dr. Schär UK is the UK division of the European company Dr. Schär, market leader and pioneer in the gluten free food sector, drawing on the company's 30 year global heritage


  • Dr. Schär aims to be the leading food specialist for particular dietary and nutritional needs in Europe and America


  • The company was established to distribute and market gluten and wheat free products and remains committed to making gluten and wheat free food as convenient and tasty as mainstream foods


  • Its Dietary Specials (DS-gluten free) range is brand leader in the retail sector and its Glutafin brand is a available in supermarkets across the Republic of Ireland.


  • The company is also responsible for the marketing and distribution of the TRUfree brand in retail.


  • Since 1998 the Warrington based team has been working closely with the loyal DS-gluten free customer base to develop a superb product range including ambient, frozen and chilled foods


  • Dr. Schär products cater for those with coeliac disease and wheat or gluten allergies or intolerances, and are also suitable for those who choose a gluten or wheat free diet for lifestyle reasons