Food Trends: Healthy, Inexpensive Items Prove Elusive

January 20, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | CPG & FMCG | Food & Restaurants | Retail & E-Commerce

Though the ability to find inexpensive food and beverage options is a core need for most consumers, finding suitable budget-friendly options – especially healthy ones – is perceived as a challenge when making a consumption choices, according to a TNS Landis US Consumption Universe study published on

The study ranked both store and name brands, as well as food categories in terms of their perceived inexpensiveness. It found that only 10 of the 330 food and beverage product categories evaluated are perceived to be “inexpensive” by at least half of consumers.

Most Inexpensive Brands

Many of the items at the top of the inexpensive brands list are desserts with questionable nutritional value. For example, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Lifesavers and Popsicle make the low-cost grade. Snack brands are more prevalent than center-plate and beverage offerings on this dimension.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Campbell’s Soup and McDonalds’ scored highest on the inexpensive list among potential “main-course” offerings.

The list of the top inexpensive food brands:


Many of the top brands considered inexpensive also scored well on another recent list of brands that bring back childhood memories.

Inexpensive Product Categories

Eggs, microwave popcorn and boxed macaroni & cheese top the list of the least-expensive product categories. Crackers, gum, seeds and ice pops also make the grade:


Store Brands Just as Good

Overall, several store-brand products made the least-expensive list, but cola, applesauce and juice are the top store brands most viewed as “just as good” as the brand names, the study found.

“Marketers offering brands perceived to be inexpensive by consumers have another opportunity to stand apart from the crowd: to be budget-friendly and considered just as good as more expensive products,” said Paulette Kish, EVP Innovation for TNS Landis. “The three products achieving this to a limited degree happen to be store brands, suggesting a certain comparative mindset in place for private label options.”


About the research: The analysis, which is based on the TNS Landis US Consumption Universe, took 270 consumer food, snack and beverage brands across the entire food and beverage landscape into account, and a score of 50 or greater indicates a brand is considered to possess an attribute by at least half of brand-aware consumers. The TNS Landis Consumption Universe study is a consumer-based survey that connects consumer targets, occasions, needs, and brands to identify innovation and marketing opportunities.

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