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Customers more satisfied with local supermarkets: Choice

National chains like Coles, Woolworths and Aldi may account for the lion’s share of grocery spending, but they can’t compete with smaller, local chains on customer satisfaction, according to a new report from consumer advocacy group Choice.

According to the inaugural Choice Supermarket Satisfaction Survey, South Australia’s Foodland topped the list with an overall satisfaction score of 82 per cent – lauded for its helpful staff, locally produced food products and ease of parking.

New South Wales’s Harris Farm Markets landed in second place with a score of 81 per cent, due to the lack of parking at these locations. However, it topped the list in terms of fresh produce.

“There’s more to attracting and keeping customers than simply having a lot of stores,” report author and Choice food expert Rachel Clemons wrote.

“You need to provide a positive shopping experience too.”

Despite ranking below the two local supermarkets, Costco and Aldi won out on price according to Clemons, while the big two – Coles and Woolworths – had the best trading hours in the industry.

Foodland was lauded in December 2018 by 91 per cent of respondents to Roy Morgan’s Retail Satisfaction Report – Supermarkets, which also found it to be the most satisfying supermarket.

However, it wasn’t all good news for supermarkets, with survey respondents also noting the biggest issues they have with the industry at large.

“The big lesson for Australian supermarkets is that fresh and local food matters,” Clemons said.

Over half of the 2886 respondents (54 per cent) believe most supermarket products have too much packaging, with Clemons noting that actions taken to reduce packaging clearly aren’t enough for some customers.

A lack of locally produced products was the next biggest issue for 45 per cent of respondents. Conversely, the availability of locally produced products was one of the reasons Foodland and Harris Farm Markets were rated so highly.

The survey was completed using responses from 2886 supermarket customers, which were tallied across February and March 2019.

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