November 20, 2009
ANN ARBOR, Mich.Comfort foods are near and dear to Americans hearts, especially during trying economic times. According to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, which measures customer satisfaction across 10 economic sectors, consumers were particularly satisfied with beer and candy.
According to ACSI, beer drinker satisfaction is at an all-time high, rising 1.2 percent to 84, perhaps following the same pattern as chocolate and sweets. Anheuser-Busch leads the way (+4 percent to 85), driven by increased sales of popular low-priced and newer products like Natural Light, Busch, Bud Light Lime and Golden Wheat. Results for Miller (+1 percent to 83) and Coors (-2 percent to 81) brands are mixed. Coors in particular is composed of more higher-priced brands compared with Anheuser-Busch and may be feeling the effects of consumers seeking better value for money.
Customer satisfaction with food companies remains unchanged at 83. Top-performer Heinz (unchanged at 89) leads the industry for a tenth straight year, with cereal maker Quaker Oats (unchanged at 87) and chocolate makers Hershey (+2 percent to 87) and Mars (+1 percent to 87) close behind. Nestlé also improves (+2 percent to 85), boosting satisfaction with manufacturers of sweets overall to an all-time high of 86.
The same thing happened in 2001 in the midst of the previous recession and also in 2004 when concern over the Iraq war and rising fuel prices appeared to be reflected in higher satisfaction with comfort foods, said Professor Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer.
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