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We notice that in published articles and when we first begin working with clients, that they use the words ‘customer’ and ‘consumer’ interchangeably. In this ‘Mini Blog – Customer Vs. Consumer’ is about using better alternatives.

We believe that this is more than semantics and is a fundamental change in mind-set to use the appropriate term. In the case of food – A ‘customer’ is someone who buys the product and the ‘consumer’ is someone who eats the product. For example, Mum buys a Pineapple and her children eat it. Mum is the customer, the preparer and her children are the consumers.

We prefer to use the terms ‘shopper’, ‘preparer’ and ‘eater’ because they separate the three groups more easily and they do what they say on the tin, shops, prepares and eats. When you get to washing powder it can be a little more tricky!

What terms do you use? – Please add a comment below!

Customer vs consumer'excuse me miss how do you say Ferrari in Italian?'

To understand more about the ‘shopper’, ‘preparer’ and ‘eater’ to then make better decisions find out more about our Category Management Academy and our e learning Category Management course by contacting us:

Do you use customer or consumer or something else? Please share your view by commenting below.

Andy Palmer

About Andy Palmer

Andy started at the coal face with eight years in food retailing. Prior to joining MBM he then spent five years in the supply base in positions of category analysis, category management and account management. He works as part of the team enabling suppliers to UK supermarkets to secure more profitable wins through people development. He specialises in Category Management Training and is a qualified HBDI practitioner.


  • Joseph Scott says:

    Never thought of it like this, but splitting them up into 3 groups is a better approach at describing the roles. ++++

  • Harry Smith says:

    Think it is essential to identify all the different customers and consumers as its good to know exactly who is the target.

  • Samuel Marney says:

    Had never thought of this before, but now I realise how important it is to be able to separate the parties as they all have a different role and which party has contact with which.

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