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The Nielsen Co. is out with the results of a new online survey about how rising food prices are affecting global shopping habits, reporting that "85% of respondents worldwide say that rising food prices are impacting their choice of grocery purchases, with more than 52% stating higher prices are a major influence."

On the issue of price:

"Asia-Pacific respondents are most responsive to special prices with 53% ranking this as the top benefit of loyalty cards, compared to 23% of North Americans ... The opportunity to accumulate points and redeem gifts is the preferred benefit among 31% of global respondents and most valuable to North Americans (36%) ... Cash rewards based on amounts spent in-store over time is the preference for 33% of global respondents and most favored in the Asia-Pacific region."

In addition, the study says, "the influence of health factors on shopping choice is most significant in Asia-Pacific," and that "retailer loyalty programs significantly impact shopping choice for 1-in-4 consumers worldwide ... Soaring fuel prices, leading to increased transportation costs, are also affecting consumer choice. 35% of global respondents consider the cost of traveling to buy groceries a major obstacle, ranking it among the top four key implications that affect grocery shopping choice across all regions; 42% regard transportation costs as a minor issue." (Though these concerns occur most often in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, Italy and Chile.)

"Among the health and wellness factors measured, those that relate to physical condition have the most significant impact on grocery purchase choice among global respondents," the study says. "Food labeling information on packaging is a key concern for 31% of total online shoppers, the availability of products with enhanced nutritional benefits is a major issue for 25% of global consumers and the availability of organic foods is a chief concern among 24% of respondents worldwide."
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