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FMI’s Sarasin: It’s Time To Expand Our Shopper Vocabulary

“It’s a brave new world of grocery shoppers with nearly everyone getting in on the act of shopping for food,” said Food Marketing Institute (FMI) President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin.

Sarasin shared insights on the impact the shifting shopper paradigm is having on the purchasing behavior of more than half of U.S. shoppers on June 21 during the FMI Connect launch of the organization’s 2016 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends analysis.

“In this year’s Trends, we have dug deeper into this ‘shared shopper’ phenomenon to explore the motivations, methods—and a bit of the madness—behind it.”

The idea that the primary grocery shopper is female is changing. According to the U.S. Census, there are 123 million households, but the U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report finds the 203 million people claim to have at least 50 percent of the household responsibility for grocery shopping. That means there are more shoppers than households.

“Today, 85 percent of the U.S. population reports it shares in at least half the grocery shopping for the household and there is great diversity in the way these individuals divide food shopping responsibilities,” Sarasin said. “It’s time to expand our shopper vocabulary.”

The U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2016 report shows that more Americans are sharing in food shopping than ever before. It offered additional vernacular to the grocery merchandiser dialect, distinguishing three types of shoppers:

  • Single Shoppers—About two of every 10 customers are single shoppers, making the food purchases for his or her single household. Another two of 10 are sole shoppers, which means they are either single parents shopping for their family or are part of the slim minority of multi-adult households with only one person shouldering the grocery shopping responsibility.
  • Co-Shoppers—Almost six of 10 shoppers, the majority of customers in the aisles, are co-shoppers, representing a part of their household’s food shopping team.
  • Shared Shoppers—Further breaking down this co-shopping group, close to half of them could be designated shared shoppers, meaning they have an intentional 50/50 split in the food purchasing duties, with some literally choosing to shop together, while others opt to equally divide the responsibilities in the way that works for them.

In addition to specific insights around these new shopper types, the analysis explores why supermarkets are well positioned within their customers’ circle of trust when it comes to food safety and supporting their efforts to achieve health and wellness in their lives. Sarasin commented on the data, which suggest another high rating for consumer confidence.

“While we can take satisfaction in this level of confidence with our shoppers, those in our store responsible for food safety know this trust is not easily won and is rather fragile,” she said. “And they know the many behind-the-scenes protocols, cleanings and procedures that must be religiously upheld to ensure we deserve the level of trust our shoppers place in us. The ability to sustain that level of trust is something our industry should be proud of; it is a tremendous accomplishment.”

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Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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