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Turning hot and cold: how the weather changes Australians’ food likes and consumption

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2010– June 2015, average quarterly sample n=4,573 Australians 14+.

When it comes to the food Aussies like eating, it seems we have a case of seasonal affective disorder… and short memories, new food preference and consumption data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

Soup and salad in particular each have their season to shine, as the chart below shows. Since 2010, around 45% of Australians ate soup during an average week in its peak July to September winter quarter. But come summer, soup consumption more than halves to just 20% on average. Salad also has seasonal ups and downs, but swings less than soup: around 70% of us eat salad during peak summery weeks in January to March, but consumption stays up around 60% in the off-season.

Seasonal trends in liking and eating soups and salads

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2010– June 2015, average quarterly sample n=4,573 Australians 14+.

But while seasonal consumption of hearty soups and crisp salads is perfectly logical, there’s also an equivalent cycle for our general food likes—and here soup is also hardest hit.

In peak salad-eating weather each year, around 70% of us agree we like salad, the same proportion as eat it. By winter, salad-liking has dipped only marginally—much less than the drop in consumption. That is, even though we’re less likely to eat salad when it’s chilly, most remember that they actually enjoy it. 

For soup, however, many of its poor-weather friends simply forget about it once the sun’s out. While almost two-thirds of us agree we like soup in winter, six months later only a bit more half of us admit we like it.

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“It seems soup is something that many Aussies like when it’s cold outside but turn their nose up at when the sun comes out.

“Since 2010 up to 3 in 10 Australians 14+ bought soup in an average four weeks during the winter season July to September. This quickly drops to as low as 1 in 8 from January to March.

“But of course soup doesn’t have to be hot (just as not all salads are cold). Perhaps there’s a gap in the market and on the shelves for supermarkets to stock some spicy gazpacho, vichyssoise or chilled borscht over the summer.  

“By correlating food preferences, eating habits and purchasing patterns, across geography and demographics, our Single Source research can help paint a total picture of consumer consumption and identify market gaps for food manufacturers, distributors, retailers and marketers.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2