FMI: Grocery shopping has ‘fundamentally changed’

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ARLINGTON, Va. — The past year has seen big changes in consumer grocery shopping habits that will likely outlast the pandemic that inspired them, according to the latest U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report from FMI—The Food Industry Association.

FMI“Throughout this past year, American grocery consumers have developed a deeper relationship with their kitchens, increased their healthy eating consciousness, and have learned new ways to shop,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said. “We see shoppers engaging in more stock-up trips to support their at-home cooking, exercising new online shopping skills, and letting their personal concept of being well impact their food and shopping behaviors. Looking ahead, we expect many of these trends to continue.”

FMI has tracked the grocery shopping habits of U.S. customers for four decades through its annual U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report. The 2021 edition, prepared in partnership with The Hartman Group, explores how the future of food retail will be colored by the pandemic – driven by shifts in the way consumers purchase groceries.

The report identifies three major trends:

  • The Era of At-Home Meals. Today, 58% of shoppers report eating more at home and nearly half (49%) report cooking or preparing their own meals more than before the pandemic. When it comes to grocery shopping to support these at-home meals, shoppers have a newfound appreciation for the task, with 42% saying they like or love to grocery shop.
  • Ecommerce and Grocery Shopping. The number of online grocery shoppers grew to nearly two-thirds (64%) of all U.S. adults, with newcomers from every generation. Frequency of online grocery shopping also increased, with more than one-fourth (29%) of online shoppers placing a weekly order. For the first time, we saw many more online grocery shoppers now consider a Mass retailer to be their primary store.
  • The Concept of Being Well Evolves. Today, shoppers’ concept of “being well” involves an interlocking, circular relationship among the domains of shopping, cooking and eating. The report contends that this phenomenon helps explain shoppers’ engagement with the evolving retail landscape. FMI has created an online experience at that shares shoppers’ insights on being well in their own words.



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