Study indicates change in grocery shopper behavior

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COLUMBIA - The 41st annual U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends study shows major shifts in consumer behaviors

The study, conducted by the Food Marketing Institution, highlights five key changes of grocery shopper behavior in 2014.

The first highlighted change is "diversification of primary store."
According to the study, supermarkets still make up 85 percent of where people are buying groceries. However, people are starting to utilize other options. The study indicates that people report shopping at 2.5 different channels "fairly often."

Alex Young lives in Columbia and said he does most of his shopping at Hy-Vee. "I'll go to the other stores every so often but I mostly stick to the bigger retailers for groceries," Young said.

"Fragmentation of the primary shopper," is another one of the study's highlighted shifts in behavior. While women still do more of the grocery shopping, the numbers for men are growing, according to the study. For the families surveyed in 2014, primary grocery shopping was handled 57 percent by women and 43 percent by men.

There was a "shift in the deciding generation" in 2014, according to the study. It indicates that people 50 and over plan their meals ahead throughout the week. People in their 20's, however, were reported to consume 25 percent of their meals on the same day they purchase the food.

"Yeah, I generally will go buy my food and eat it that night," Young said. "If I feel like steak, I'll go buy one."

The study also indicates a "focus on wellness." According to the report, Americans are more invested in health, and the role of food in their well-being. It also indicated that since 2007, there has been a steady increase in consumers who value fresh products.

Young fits in to this trend. "I buy all healthy stuff," he said. "I try to stay on the healthy side of everything."

Finally, the study reports "food retailers become trusted allies." 91 percent of the people surveyed said they trust their stores to provide safe food products.

To see the whole study, you can visit the FMI's website.