FMI Research: Grocery Shopping Has Fundamentally Changed

For the past four decades, FMI-The Food Industry Association has tracked the grocery shopping habits of U.S. customers through the U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report. The 2021 edition, prepared in partnership with The Hartman Group, explores how the future of food retail will be colored by the pandemic – driven by shifts in the way consumers purchase groceries.

“Throughout this past year, American grocery consumers have developed a deeper relationship with their kitchens, increased their healthy eating consciousness, and have learned new ways to shop,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said.

“We see shoppers engaging in more stock-up trips to support their at-home cooking, exercising new online shopping skills, and letting their personal concept of being well impact their food and shopping behaviors. Looking ahead, we expect many of these trends to continue,” Sarasin added.

U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2021 identifies three major focus areas:

The Era of At-Home Meals

Today, 58% of shoppers report eating more at home, and nearly half (49%) report cooking or preparing their own meals more than before the pandemic.

When it comes to grocery shopping to support these at-home meals, shoppers have a newfound appreciation for the task, with 42% saying they like or love grocery shopping.

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Ecommerce and Grocery Shopping

The number of online grocery shoppers grew to nearly two-thirds (64%) of all U.S. adults, with newcomers from every generation.

The frequency of online grocery shopping also increased, with more than one-fourth (29%) of online shoppers placing weekly orders.

For the first time, we saw many more online grocery shoppers now consider a Mass retailer to be their primary store.

The Concept of Being Well Evolves

Today, shoppers’ concept of being well involves an interlocking, circular relationship among the domains of shopping, cooking, and eating. This phenomenon helps us understand shoppers’ engagement with the evolving retail landscape.

FMI has created an online experience at that shares shoppers’ insights on being well in their own words.