Shoppers hunt for food deals online, Deloitte survey finds

NEW YORK Shoppers with an appetite for deals on food purchases are turning to online tools for help, a new Deloitte consumer survey found.

Deloitte's 2010 consumer food safety survey found that one-third of the 1,102 respondents polled subscribe to receive e-mails, recipes and coupons directly from food manufacturers, up six percentage points from two years ago. A total of 23% of consumers visit a food company's Web site to learn more about their products and will make a food purchase as a result.

Additionally, shoppers tend to become more bargain-hungry and will seek to compare prices, especially if they use a mobile device while shopping or when making shopping decisions, Deloitte noted, adding that men were more aggressive when it came to bargain hunting than women.

"Today's consumers are using the Internet to not just find nutritional and safety information about the foods they eat, but to find the best value for their dollar," said Pat Conroy, Deloitte's vice chairman and consumer products practice leader in the United States. "If this recession has taught us anything, it's that we don't necessarily have to sacrifice quality for value -- and consumers have figured that out by uncovering the wealth of product promotions and other marketing messages available on the Internet."

In line with the results, Deloitte also noted that 52% of Americans surveyed preferred to purchase store brands when shopping for packaged or bottled food items. The result is in line with a Nielsen reported released last week that underscored the relationship of private-brand sales' value and consumers.

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