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FMI Finds Shoppers Remain Resilient Against Rising Food Prices

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FMI – The Food Industry Association has released the fifth edition of the “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2022” series focused on back to school season. It found that 90 percent of shoppers are concerned about some aspect of food accessibility, with 61 percent concerned about rising prices specifically – an increase of eight percentage points since February.

However, even in this inflationary environment, 86 percent of shoppers feel they have at least some degree of control over their finances, particularly when it comes to their grocery budgets.

“Our research substantiates that the food industry offers safe, healthy, quality foods, such as store brand products, at affordable price points and provides shoppers other helpful resources to stretch their grocery budgets, helping meet their household’s specific food needs,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO.

Shoppers’ worries about rising prices are focused on essential items, including gas, food and housing costs. Households with children are particularly concerned about rising prices on school supplies (64 percent) and clothing (65 percent). Even though shoppers say they are feeling pinched, they do express control over aspects of their household budget, particularly eating out (91 percent), grocery shopping (86 percent) and, for households with children, childcare (87 percent).

The shoppers report weekly grocery spend totals of $136, which is $12 lower than February. This is partially a seasonal effect, with consumers eating out more during summer months, but it also indicates belt-tightening behaviors. Shoppers seem to believe they are succeeding at bringing their grocery spending under control, hitting a lower ongoing weekly total, as they adjust their overall household budgets.

Shoppers are finding ways to cope with rising food prices by looking for deals (49 percent), buying more store brands (41 percent), buying fewer items (37 percent), buying in bulk (23 percent) and making increased use of store loyalty programs (22 percent). Consumers are also seeing different benefits from shopping in-store or online.

Customers indicate that while shopping in a physical store, they can make adjustments at the shelf (61 percent) and save on shipping/delivery (57 percent). When grocery shopping online, shoppers report they can better monitor basket size (64 percent) and save on gas (62 percent).

The U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends: Back to School report includes additional information regarding shoppers’ concerns about COVID-19 and its long-term impact, details on the ways rising food prices are impacting food insecure households and restaurant spending versus grocery spending.

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