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Australia’s Evolving Tastebuds

Australia's evolving tastebuds

Woolworths Trolley Trends report reveals Australia’s evolving tastebuds

Australia through the lens of the supermarket trolley.

Woolworths today lifted the lid on how Australian society and life has changed from the perspective of the supermarket shopping trolley, with the release of the Woolworths Trolley Trends Report.

Over the 25 years reviewed, Australia has become a cosmopolitan community and our tastebuds have embraced global flavours. The way we eat and how we spend our money on food and other costs of living tell a unique story about how our country has changed.

Woolworths commissioned the research into Australia’s shopping habits with context provided by analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Household Expenditure Surveys, Census and Reserve Bank of Australia by leading social researcher, KPMG’s Bernard Salt.

Australia's evolving tastebuds

Australia’s evolving tastebuds

The Woolworths Trolley Trends report has revealed a vastly different Australia to the one that existed 25 years ago. The modern Australian household is less likely to have exclusive Anglo-Australian heritage, less likely to identify with religion, more likely to be highly educated and more likely to have both partners working. Today’s family might be a single, a couple or have adult kids living at home well into in their twenties and still relying on mum and dad for support.  These changes are reflected in their shopping trolleys.

Tjeerd Jegen, Managing Director of Woolworths Supermarkets said: “At Woolworths our obsession with our customers is at the heart of everything we do.  Looking at how our lives and food shopping have evolved is what motivated us to undertake this unique study.

“This report provides an exceptional insight into how the last 25 years have changed the way we shop and eat. A shopper from 25 years ago would be confounded by the supermarket of today. As Australia has changed, Woolworths has changed as well.  We look forward to delivering what our customer needs well into the future.”

Woolworths Trolley Trends key findings:
The big weekly shop is dead: 

  • On average, Australians spend just 34% of their weekly food budget on their primary shopping day – they are increasingly using the supermarket like a pantry
  • Sunday is becoming the new Saturday for supermarket shopping, with 18% of Australians now making Sunday their primary shopping day, up 3% points since last year

Aussie families focused on price:

  •  Households headed by a person aged 48-49 years spend $3,548 more on food and non-alcoholic beverages each year than the average Australian
  • There was a 31.5% increase in the number of children still living with their parents between 2006 and 2011 – reflected in higher food costs for longer for many households
  • More than a third of the items in Woolworths’ supermarket trolleys are purchased on promotion
  • The proportion of items purchased on promotion at Woolies is up 10% per annum

The trolley transformation:

  • The potato was Australia’s side dish of choice in 1984 accounting for 72% of our side dish purchases. This has dropped to 39%, with the popularity of pasta, noodles and rice increasing to now make up 61% of side dish purchases

Australia’s changing palate:

  • The ‘meat and three veg’ standard meal of the 1970s and 1980s has gone by the wayside
  • In the 1990s Mediterranean produce, including zucchini, garlic, eggplant and red capsicum, reached critical mass in our supermarkets
  • Medjool dates, figs, almonds and pomegranates were among the Arab and Persian items that reached critical mass at Woolies since 2010
  • Today you will find superfoods including kale, blueberries and sweet potato as a standard in the Woolies fresh produce section

Share of wallet:

  • Housing costs (rent or mortgage payments) today account for the largest share of our wallets (18%) and saw the single largest increase in household expenditure since 1984, up 380%
  • Today food and non-alcoholic drink accounts for our second largest share of wallet (17%)
  • Generation X has emerged as Generation debt – more than half of all households headed by a Gen X have a home loan and one third have credit card debt