How Consumers Are Tackling Holiday Grocery Shopping

Heading into the holiday season, more consumers are concerned about the price of holiday meals (45%) than travel or gifts, according to the FMI—The Food Industry Association’s final 2022 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends Report.

The final release from the expansive survey of food shoppers’ journeys explores the sentiment and behaviors of consumers as they head into the holiday season.

This year, typical holiday stress is exacerbated by inflationary concerns, with 62% of shoppers reporting their grocery costs have increased year-over-year.

Despite inflation-induced concerns, average weekly household grocery spending is currently at $148 per week, which is down from the $161 peak during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related Article: FMI Research: Grocery Shopping Has Fundamentally Changed

Fortunately, most shoppers indicate they are in control of their grocery budgets, with 71% of consumers making some adjustments to their holiday meal shopping to adapt to the changing economic landscape. This indicates that shoppers are still able to find budget-friendly items to meet their needs.

“Food is the centerpiece for so many of our holiday gatherings. Despite inflationary pressures, consumers are determined to enjoy the festivities this year as they normally do,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “The food industry is working tirelessly to keep costs down and to ensure that our timeless traditions can continue during this holiday season.”

To mitigate increased costs, consumers say they are:

  • Looking for deals (28%).
  • Choosing store brands (21%).
  • Enjoying more homecooked meals (20%).
  • Making fewer dishes overall (17%).
  • Substituting more affordable options (17%).
  • Encouraging guests to bring dishes (17%).
  • Spending less in other categories to provide holiday meals (17%).

Shortages were a hallmark of the pandemic across many industries, but food retailers and suppliers made progress to curb widespread supply chain issues that have kept consumer confidence heading into the holidays. Only 27% of consumers report being “very concerned” about food items needed for holiday meals being out of stock.

Shoppers are resilient; if they run into stock issues when shopping for holiday food, 50% report they would try something new, while 36% would look for a new recipe.