November 16, 2022
4 Food Industry Consumer Trends to Watch
Grocery shopping, like many household duties on the to-do list, is something that there never seems to be time for. Also like many other aspects of modern life, consumers are looking for ever-increasing personalization and looking for ways to make the chore of grocery shopping more exciting by finding food that inspires them and gets their family to the dinner table. Here are 4 food industry trends that illustrate how consumers shop for and what motivates their decisions.
While online grocery shopping has already well-established before the pandemic, lockdown prompted many more people to turn to e-commerce for their weekly grocery shopping. A recent Food Industry Association (FMI) report found that 64 percent of consumers surveyed stated that they shopped for groceries online at least occasionally, even after the height of the pandemic. But with higher prices both in the stores and at the gasoline pumps, shoppers are splitting how they spend their money. The same report also found consumers are increasingly turning to hybrid shopping for groceries, as inflation and the price of gas continues to be a drain on budgets. In a search for both quality and value, consumers are spreading their spending across stores, with shopping clubs offering more specific shopping experiences and traditional grocery stores attracting consumers with their fresh categories, like produce and prepared foods.
Even in the face of rising food prices, consumers are showing a taste for high-quality food products, and are willing to pay more for them. The FMI report shows that among the consumers who stated that they were paying more for groceries this year, 19 percent of them indicated that it was because they were buying higher-quality products. Higher-income earners and parents were the top consumers purchasing the premium products, with items like baby food, plant-based products, meal kits, and fresh, prepared foods topping the list of products that consumers are willing to pay more for.
‘Food Rule’ Eating
Consumers have moved away from classic diets meant for weight loss and have embraced a more personalized way of eating based on food rules. These dietary guidelines influence how and where consumers shop. The keto diet, the latest version of a low-carb diet, is currently followed by 12.9 million Americans and has launched its own sizable category of products in the food industry. In addition, plant-based eating has grown in popularity, as well, with many people embracing it as an entire lifestyle, beyond just food. Clean eating has also been influential in how consumers shop.
With busy professionals and harried parents needing to get something on the table fast every evening, prepared food is becoming increasingly popular. In 2019, grocery store deli departments sold nearly $15B in prepared foods. Grocery stores often offer items that are marketed as compliments to a meal, but consumers who don’t have time to cook are on the hunt for entrees, and it has become the fastest-growing segment in the fresh deli-prepared food category. The reopening of hot bars and salad bars after the height of the pandemic offered opportunities for grocery stores to rethink their prepared food selections and offer time-starved consumers creative, high-quality solutions for mealtime.
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