National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

You know you are getting your money's worth with a 33-page executive summary, and that is exactly the bulk and heft of the U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2012 executive summary from the Food Marketing Institute.

I hope to tune in to the related webcast event this afternoon, but inspecting the summary document I noticed the FMI highlighted its "future facing" approach to the study.

The summary identified four key trends

  • the shift to value-seeking behavior as a result of the down economy
  • technology enhanced shopping
  • E-commerce commerce growth
  • small retail formats take hold

Some excerpts from the executive summary:

About the economy: "Even now in 2012 when the economy is steadily improving, 42% of consumers remain convinced it is getting worse."

About technology: "Nearly a third (32%) are using online coupons while nearly a equal amount (31%) are using mobile technology when grocery shopping for task such as making shopping lists, finding recipes or researching products."

About E-commerce: "Those consumers who are buying groceries online do so for several reason; convenience of home shopping (57%) and home delivery (47%) being among the top three reasons."

Format innovation: "Since 2005, the number of dollar stores and hard discount stores both grew by 23% and supercenters by 48%, while supermarket numbers only grew by 4%."

About confidence in food safety: "When asked about specific categories of food items, consumers are moderately confident in the safety of produce  (53%) and meat/poultry (49%), but these numbers have taken a slight dip from 2011."


TK: The "middle" market for supermarkets continues to be under pressure, with hard discount stores on one hand and upmarket retailers like Whole Foods on the other squeezing traditional retailers.  FMI suggests retailers explore online shopping/social media for consumers, expand private label promotions, attract value-seeking consumers and implement value added services to stop the bleeding.

In other reports of note, check out the quarterly food at home price database issued by the USDA ERS.