Hershey claims top spot in leading consumer satisfaction study

Confectionery businesses including Hershey that have moved to improve natural ingredients in its range, have emerged strongly in the latest annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

According to the study, companies take notice of consumers’ growing interest in fresh, natural, and organic products proved among the most popular with the public.

The 2018 Nondurable Products report, which analysed nearly 400 businesses and interviewed more than 5,000 consumers at random, found customer satisfaction with packaged food products ranging from chocolate, baked goods, and cereal to meat, cheese, and frozen foods-climbed 1.2% year-on-year to 82 (on a 0 to 100 scale).

Hershey’s top spot for food manufacturing with an ACSI score of 86, was unchanged from last year. However, the report noted that despite removing artificial ingredients from many of its core products and making nutritional information more accessible to the public, the company only just retained its leading performance.

On the heels of its redesigned salad packaging and healthy snacks-to-go, Dole increased four percent to 85, the biggest increase among food manufacturers.

General Mills rises two percent to 84 for third place thanks to heavy investments in organic products, tying it with Quaker (unchanged) and Mars, which climbed two percent.
Nestlé (Ferrero) and Kraft Heinz were ranked lower at 82, both unchanged from last year.

The report stated that two of the most significant factors in the study’s results were that food price rises have been slower than expected, and the quality of products has also improved.

“A growing demand for healthier foods has reshuffled the playing field for grocery brands,” says David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI. “In 2018, we saw the sales of plant-based foods grow by 20 percent, and one in 10 consumers have tried a gluten-free diet. These aren’t fads; customers want to adhere to a healthier lifestyle and they’re more satisfied with brands that offer those options.”

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