New Harris Poll Looks at “Craft”-y Marketing Language

Handmade? Limited Edition? Artisan? Buzzwords show varied levels of impact on Americans’ food/beverage purchase decisions

05:00 AM EDT Aug 26, 2015 Rating
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New Harris Poll Looks at “Craft”-y Marketing Language

NEW YORK, N.Y. – There are a lot of buzzwords used in the world of food and beverage marketing today. It’s become commonplace to see advertisements touting products that are “craft” and “limited edition” and find packages emblazoned with words like “handcrafted” and “artisan.” But what do these words actually tell consumers about the products? And what influence might they have on purchases? A recent Harris Poll aims to find out just that.

“Handmade/handcrafted” tops the provided list as a mark of quality, with nearly six in ten (59%) adults saying it strongly or somewhat communicates that a product is high quality. “Artisan/artisanal” and “custom” are the next best messengers of high quality, with 46% of adults saying each communicates this, followed by “craft” at 44% and “limited edition” at 41%. Just 31% say the same of “small batch.”

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,225 U.S. adults surveyed online between May 20 and 26, 2015.

When asked to estimate how much influence each description wields over their purchasing decisions, “handmade/handcrafted” shows the strongest potential sway with roughly half (48%) estimating it has some or a great deal of influence on their decisions. Over one-third say the same for “limited edition” (37%), “custom” (36%), or “artisan/artisanal” (36%). Just under one-third of adults (32%) estimate that “craft” has at least some influence, while “small batch” again trails the rest of the field, with one-quarter (25%) saying  it has at least some influence on their purchases.

Time to limit “limited editions?”

But how saturated is the market becoming with labels like these? Currently, Americans find the use of “limited edition” to be anything but limited. Nearly two-thirds (64%) believe this term is over-used in marketing for food or beverage products. Half of adults say the same of “handmade/handcrafted” (52%), “craft” (51%), “artisan/artisanal” (51%), and “custom” (50%), while smaller percentages say the same of “small batch” – only one-third (32%) feel the phrase is over-used, while 37% say it is neither over- nor under-used.

“Craft”ing the message

Some descriptions are just better suited for one product over another. For example, beer best taps into the “craft” description; when presented with an extensive list of food and beverage categories and asked which fits with each label, just over half (52%) of drinking-age Americans feel beer is an appropriate fit for “craft” – the top selection by a wide margin. One-quarter (25%) say liquor/spirits/cocktails is a strong fit for “craft” while 20% say the same about wine and 27% don’t see “craft” as an appropriate fit with any of the product categories tested.

“Handmade/handcrafted” may be best suited to foods on the sweeter side, as baked goods (46%), jam/jelly/preserves (45%), and chocolate/candy (43%) are all seen as appropriate fits by over four in ten Americans.

The items most seen as appropriate fits for “artisan/artisanal” descriptions are cheese (38%) and baked goods (36%), followed more distantly by coffee (23%).

Beverages prove to be good fits for both “limited edition” and “small batch,” with three in ten Americans aged 21+ saying wine (30% & 27%, respectively) and one quarter saying liquor/spirits/cocktails (28% & 25%, respectively) are appropriate fits. All adults also agree soda/carbonated beverages (28%) are a good fit for “limited edition.” Stepping away from the beverage category, 26% say jam/jelly/preserves is a good fit for “small batch” branding.

“Custom” shows the most diversity in responses, with 24% saying pet food and 23% saying coffee are appropriate fits. However, it should be noted that 39% say none of the food/beverage options presented are an appropriate fit for this choice.

Generations divide

Among the questions of high quality, influence on purchasing decisions, and over use of the terms, key differences exist between generations. Millennials are more likely than their older counterparts to say “handmade/handcrafted,” “craft,” and “small batch” communicate that a product is high quality:

Furthermore, Millennials are more likely than all other generations to say “limited edition,” “custom,” “artisan/artisanal,” and “craft” have at least some influence on their purchase decisions.

On the other hand, it’s the older generations who are more likely to tout them as over-used:

 


TABLE 1a

FOOD/BEVERAGE DESCRIPTIONS COMMUNICATING HIGH QUALITY

Grid Summary

 “You may have seen some or all of the following descriptions on food or beverage packaging. To what degree, if at all, do you believe each description communicates that a product is high quality?”

Base: All adults

 

SOMEWHAT/ STRONGLY COMMUNICATES (NET)

Strongly communicates this

Somewhat communicates this

DOESN’T COMMUNIATE/ COMMUNICATES A LITTLE BIT (NET)

Communicate this a little bit

Doesn’t communicate this at all

%

%

%

%

%

%

Handmade/ Handcrafted

59

23

36

41

25

17

Artisan/ Artisanal

46

15

31

54

28

26

Custom

46

15

30

54

29

25

Craft

44

12

32

56

30

26

Limited edition

41

13

28

59

27

32

Small batch

31

8

23

69

31

38

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding

 

TABLE 1b

FOOD/BEVERAGE DESCRIPTIONS COMMUNICATING HIGH QUALITY

Summary of “Somewhat/Strongly Communicates (NET)”

By Generation

“You may have seen some or all of the following descriptions on food or beverage packaging. To what degree, if at all, do you believe each description communicates that a product is high quality?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Generation

Millennials (18-37)

Generation X (38-49)

Baby Boomers (50-68)

Matures (69+)

%

%

%

%

%

Handmade/Handcrafted

59

66

58

55

49

Artisan/Artisanal

46

53

47

42

36

Custom

46

54

47

39

38

Craft

44

53

45

40

31

Limited edition

41

46

41

37

37

Small batch

31

39

31

27

19

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding

 

TABLE 2a

FOOD/BEVERAGE DESCRIPTIONS INFLUENCE ON PURCHASING DECISIONS

Grid Summary

 “Still thinking about these descriptions, how much influence, if any, would you say each has on your purchasing decisions?”

Base: All adults

 

SOME/GREAT DEAL OF INFLUENCE (NET)

A great deal of influence

Some influence

NO/VERY LITTLE INFLUENCE (NET)

Very little influence

No influence at all

%

%

%

%

%

%

Handmade/ Handcrafted

48

14

34

52

24

28

Limited edition

37

12

25

63

28

35

Custom

36

10

26

64

29

35

Artisan/ Artisanal

36

9

26

64

28

36

Craft

32

7

24

68

30

38

Small batch

25

6

19

75

32

43

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding

 

TABLE 2b

FOOD/BEVERAGE DESCRIPTIONS INFLUENCE ON PURCHASING DECISIONS

Summary of “Some/Great Deal of Influence (NET)”

By Generation

 “Still thinking about these descriptions, how much influence, if any, would you say each has on your purchasing decisions?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Generation

Millennials (18-37)

Generation X (38-49)

Baby Boomers (50-68)

Matures (69+)

%

%

%

%

%

Handmade/Handcrafted

48

53

47

44

46

Limited edition

37

46

36

31

25

Custom

36

46

35

30

27

Artisan/Artisanal

36

44

34

31

28

Craft

32

39

30

28

21

Small batch

25

31

25

22

17

 

 

TABLE 3a

OVER/UNDER-USE OF FOOD/BEVERAGE DESCRIPTIONS

Grid Summary

 “How strongly do you feel each of these statements is over-used or under-used/is under-used or over-used in marketing food and/or beverage products?”

Base: All adults

 

OVER-USED (NET)

Greatly over-used

Somewhat over-used

UNDER-USED (NET)

Somewhat under-used

Greatly under-used

Neither

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Limited edition

64

32

32

12

9

3

24

Handmade/ Handcrafted

52

20

33

20

16

5

28

Craft

51

21

31

20

16

4

29

Artisan/ Artisanal

51

21

30

22

17

6

27

Custom

50

21

29

20

16

5

29

Small batch

32

11

21

30

21

9

37

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding

 

TABLE 3b

OVER/UNDER-USE OF FOOD/BEVERAGE DESCRIPTIONS

Summary of “Over-Used (NET)”

By Generation

 “How strongly do you feel each of these statements is over-used or under-used/is under-used or over-used in marketing food and/or beverage products?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Generation

Millennials (18-37)

Generation X (38-49)

Baby Boomers (50-68)

Matures (69+)

%

%

%

%

%

Limited edition

64

62

58

69

68

Handmade/Handcrafted

52

54

50

53

51

Craft

51

47

49

57

53

Artisan/Artisanal

51

49

50

54

51

Custom

50

46

47

53

60

Small batch

32

28

29

36

41

 

 

TABLE 4

BEST DESCRIPTIONS FOR FOOD/DRINK PRODUCTS

Grid Summary

 “Thinking now about different kinds of food and drink, which of these do you consider a strong fit with each description? Meaning, for which products would you consider the description to be appropriate? Please select all of the products that you feel are a strong fit with each description.”

Base: All adults

 

 

Beer (ages 21+ only)

Wine (ages 21+ only)

Liquor/ Spirits/ Cocktails (ages 21+ only)

Cheese

Baked goods (e.g., bread, pastries)

Choco-late/ Candy

Soda/ Carbo-nated Bever-ages

Juice/ Juice Drinks

Coffee

Tea

Pet food

Jam/Jelly/  Preserves

None of these

Craft

%

52

20

25

16

9

9

13

10

10

11

7

11

27

Small batch

%

24

27

25

20

23

23

11

16

17

17

16

26

27

Limited edition

%

21

20

28

9

9

20

27

14

19

16

7

10

30

Handmade/ Handcrafted

%

21

21

15

30

46

43

8

17

13

12

14

45

21

Artisan/ Artisanal

%

18

22

13

38

36

22

7

11

23

20

11

16

27

Custom

%

13

12

16

11

11

15

15

15

23

19

24

11

39

 

TABLE 5

PRODUCT PURCHASES

 “And which, if any, of these products do you purchase at least a few times per year? Please select all that apply.”

Base: All adults

 

Total

%

Cheese

87

Baked goods (e.g., bread, pastries)

84

Chocolate/Candy

82

Soda/Carbonated beverages

77

Juice/Juice drinks

74

Coffee

73

Jam/Jelly/Preserves

67

Tea

66

Pet food

56

Beer (ages 21+ only)

50

Wine (ages 21+ only)

48

Liquor/Spirits/Cocktails

46

None of these

2

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between May 20 and 26, 2015 among 2,225 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #52, August 26, 2015

By Allyssa Birth, Senior Research Analyst, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. 

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