FMI releases U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, supermarkets reclaim channel share

CHICAGO, Ill. - The Food Marketing Institute on Wednesday released its annual analysis of U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, presented by FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin at FMI Connect, which reveals dramatic changes in the consumer universe that have impacted the way food retailers do business.

“FMI’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2014, done in collaboration with the Hartman Group, shows supermarkets returning to a 54% level of channel share, supercenters down to 22% and each of the other categories, such as discount and specialty, registering one percent lower from the positions held the year before," Sarasin said. “Clearly, the traditional supermarket picked up a few points in all that movement, but what is most interesting is the leap in the number of people who claim they have no primary store. When FMI first started listing this option in 2011, only 2% said they had no primary store. This year, 9% claim no primary store.”

Laurie Demeritt, CEO of the Hartman Group, noted that the joint study identifies important shifts in the way Americans are food shopping, including not just an increasing reliance on multiple stores, but an increasing fragmentation of shopping responsibilities within the American household.

“We offered FMI a unique opportunity this year to approach the survey research through a cultural perspective, interviewing Americans in their homes and while shopping," Demeritt said. "Drawing upon ethnographic research into U.S. food consumption, we found that the convenient, formerly helpful idea of a 'primary shopper' — a single adult responsible for, and at least knowledgeable about, a household's grocery purchases — no longer does justice to how American households manage their food purchases today.”

U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2014 identifies and explores five major trends:

  1. Diversification of the “primary store” as a touchstone of shopper behavior;
  2. Fragmentation of the “primary shopper” role within households;
  3. Generational transformation in what “planning” means to food shoppers;
  4. Re-orientation of consumer attitudes around wellness, with fresh, less-processed taking a center stage; and
  5. Opening for food retailers to become trusted allies in helping shoppers navigate food and wellness. 
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