Value and Nutrition Drive Shopping Decisions

May 06, 2002

American consumers continue to incorporate economizing behaviors in their weekly grocery shopping, according to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Report, Trends in the United States: Consumer Attitudes & the Supermarket, 2002. Along with a strong desire for value, the report also shows that consumers are seeking healthier mealtime solutions and more variety from food retailers.

According to the report, the top three features consumers see as being important in a supermarket are “a clean, neat store; high-quality fruits and vegetables; and high-quality meat.”

Other trends noted in the study include:

  • Eighty-three percent of shoppers say that a fresh meat department with a butcher is very or somewhat important. Nearly one-third of these consumers believe that case ready is not as good as meat packaged at the store.

  • Monthly use of in-store pharmacies increased by seven points to 28 percent.

  • Consumer use of private label products increased from 82 percent to 87 percent.

  • Seventy-nine percent say their primary store offers gourmet foods, up from 70 percent.

  • Organic or natural foods are carried by 71 percent of stores.

  • Forty-nine percent of consumers surveyed use the self-checkout service when it is available.

  • Fifty-four percent surveyed use gasoline services when it was available at the supermarket.

Despite a decrease in spending averages for both the household grocery bill and per-person expenditures, reports FMI, consumers are spending more at their primary store. Overall satisfaction with supermarkets remains high. That they are spending less on restaurant takeout, and express more interest in preparing home-cooked meals (at least three times per week), is a significant change from previous years.

Moderator Comment: Which of the trends or other findings
in the FMI research do you find most interesting? What are the implications?
Anderson – Moderator

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