Shoppers are willing to pay more for innovative products as long as they make life easier, new research suggests.

A survey by GfK of 2,983 people found that 83% of respondents considered making life easier to be the biggest benefit of product innovation. Meanwhile, 80% cited ‘saving money’ as a benefit of innovative products.

“People are on the lookout for innovation and they are willing to pay for it,” said Peter Jenkins, head of FMCG at GfK. “In chastened times, price is still important, but what we found was that products that made life easier were up there in terms of importance.

“It’s good to see that people are still willing to look out for innovative ideas. It’s not a case of price being the be-all and end-all.”

The research, which will be published tomorrow, also found that more traditional methods such as in-store promotions and TV advertising remained the top ways for people to find out about new products. These were followed by recommendations from family and friends, and online searches. “Online has played a role but certainly in-store is the key area,” Jenkins said.

Of the 40 FMCG sectors included in the survey, snacks was the number-one category in which people said they bought new products. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said they had bought a new snack product in the last 12 months. Walkers was singled out as one brand that scored highly for its product innovation, Jenkins said.

Jenkins added that the increasing popularity of convenient, on-the-go foods meant they scored highly in people’s responses. “Ready meals get cited as a good example [of product innovation]. The average time taken to cook them has decreased significantly,” he said. Respondents also cited the quality and range of ready meals on the market.

However, people were more circumspect when it came to products related to health and beauty. In oral care, healthcare, hair care and skin care shoppers indicated they would try a new product – but only if it was from a brand they trusted.