FMI Connect recap: Households now shopping as teams
One of my pet peeves covering the retailing industry over the years, and especially supermarkets, has been the propensity of top industry execs who refer to shoppers as “she,” the idea being that females make almost all food shopping decisions. So, it was a belated relief to hear Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute at the FMI Connect event in Chicago this week talk about the evolution of food shopping, and the fact that the industry needs to consider a wider variety of shopping habits.
Her presentation highlighted insights from FMI’s “2016 U.S. Grocery Trends” report. While Ms. Sarasin talked about a number of different shopper types, a main point is that many households now shop as teams, with men and women each having major roles in decisions and purchasing. Fifty-eight percent of those responding said they are part of a food shopping team. Among adults responding to the survey, 85 percent said they had at least half of the responsibility for food shopping in their households. Even if that is statistically improbable, it suggests that consumers are more involved in food shopping and now go to food stores not just to stock up, but expecting entertainment, information, nutrition and an interesting experience.
Ms. Sarasin said many families use a “divide and conquer” strategy, with roles being delegated or collaborative. Shared shopping is most popular with Millennials, but significant for all groups. Younger Millennials want to share food shopping to ensure their tastes and needs are met, while mature consumers (71+) are most likely to believe it isn’t fair for one person to have to do all the work. Co-shoppers are also more likely to cook together.
The consumer value equation has also changed. Food shoppers aren’t just looking for a good deal, but many are interested in such things as food that is produced locally, organic products, sustainability, humane treatment of animals, worker rights, avoiding ingredients they perceive negatively, and nutrition and health implications. Interestingly, primary food stores are ranked near the top in terms of groups that are “working for me,” along with family, doctors, friends, farmers, and fitness clubs. Near the bottom are the news media, food manufacturers, the entertainment industry, and fast food restaurants.
Ms. Sarasin suggested retailers use social media to help families start “table talks” or dialogues about their differing food needs and wants.
- FMI’s Sarasin: “It’s Time to Expand Our Shopper Vocabulary” – FMI
- Shared shopping roles hold the key to consumer purchasing – Supermarket News
- U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends – FMI
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the most meaningful changes that you’ve seen in supermarket shopping habits in the last five years? How can supermarkets better serve consumers who are shopping with and for a family with multiple and sometimes conflicting needs?