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CHICAGO -- American consumers continue to seek value in their weekly grocery shopping, "value" means something different for each shopper group and even individual shopper, according to the new Food Marketing Institute report, "U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, 2005."
The study, which was issued May 1, the opening day of the 2005 FMI Show, additionally reveals that, along with value, consumers are placing the most importance on quality food, a pleasant store environment, and convenient mealtime solutions.
According to the report, shoppers' overall satisfaction with supermarkets is still high (75 percent gave their supermarket a rating of 8 or higher on a scale of one to 10), but they're becoming more diverse, with shopping behaviors being simultaneously influenced by multiple factors, including age, gender, race, and economic status.
Additionally, the increase in single-parent households has resulted in more people who are both the family breadwinner and the primary grocery shopper. At the same time, there are now more single people living alone than ever before, with more money to spend on a per person basis than any other type of household.
On average, consumers visit the grocery store 2.2 times a week, which includes an average of 1.7 visits to the primary store. They spend an average of $92.50 a week per household, of which $70.90 is spent at the primary store.
The top three features trends consumers consider important when selecting a primary supermarket are high-quality produce, high-quality meats, and a clean, neat store. These three features were ranked "very important" in store selection by at least 74 percent of shoppers. Close behind were low prices and a fast checkout. Other crucial factors were the availability of money-saving specials, a convenient store layout, and personal safety outside the store.
Top savings strategies used by shoppers were making a list prior to shopping (54 percent), participation in a frequent shopper program (41 percent), checking the newspaper for grocery specials (40 percent), and stocking up on sale items (24 percent).
Supermarkets are still the primary destination for purchasing groceries, with 93 percent of shoppers naming at least one supermarket among the list of stores where they've shopped in the past 30 days. Supercenters came in second at 41 percent, followed by conventional discount stores and warehouse club stores at 26 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
Today shoppers are more likely to shop many different store types to meet their grocery needs. While 46 percent say they buy their groceries at full-service supermarkets almost all of the time and an additional 29 percent shop at these places fairly often, over half of shoppers say they shop at multiple stores. Almost 19 percent of consumers shop at supercenters, and 12 percent shop at discount stores. Five percent of shoppers visit each of the following channels: drug stores, warehouse club stores, dollar stores, and limited-assortment stores.
Among the additional key findings:
--Younger shoppers are more interested in an exciting shopping environment than any other generation. High-frequency shoppers and high spenders also want an exciting store environment featuring new ideas and products.
--Only a 2 percent to 3 percent of shoppers look for country of origin when buying meat, produce, or seafood. The most important attributes are quality and price.
--Features that Generation Y shoppers consider important are fast checkout, self-checkout, and quick, convenient meal solutions. Although they enjoy eating, they don't like to cook the food themselves; in fact, they show the lowest per-person grocery spending of all shopper groups. The foods they like include ethnic, organic, and gourmet items. They eat out more often than other types of consumers and go to coffee bars the most.
Data for the study was gathered through two independent surveys using the Harris Poll Online database. Online surveys were conducted among a nationally representative sample of 2,001 U.S. shoppers who were at least 15 years old, had primary or equally shared responsibility for food shopping, and had shopped for groceries in the past two weeks. The surveys were available in both English and Spanish to ensure a representative sample of the U.S. Hispanic population.