By Steve Markenson, Director, Research, FMI

kitchen pantry

My freezer, refrigerator and kitchen cabinets have never been this full. And, as I look at the results of our most recent U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends COVID-19 Tracker survey of consumers, it appears that my household is not unique. This food anxiety driven by the events around the pandemic is shaping our food shopping behaviors.  

More, More, More

The most noticeable difference that I have experienced is how full my cart is on each visit to the store and what the cash register tells me when I am done. As we have reported, Americans’ weekly grocery spend increased by 33% in the first weeks of the pandemic and that weekly spend has remained higher than pre-pandemic levels in subsequent weeks. Many Americans agree (41%) that they are spending more each week on groceries than before the pandemic. And, a comparable proportion (41%) acknowledge that they are also buying more food each week than before the pandemic. In fact, 10% say their household is buying much more food now.

My Cupboard Overfloweth

During this pandemic, many Americans have passed the time doing jigsaw puzzles. In our house, the most challenging jigsaw puzzle comes after grocery shopping with solving the puzzle of how to fit all the groceries in the freezer, refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. In the past, we would shop for the coming week, but our food anxieties now have us shopping for the longer term. Most Americans (65%) now say that they have enough food on hand to last for more than one week. More than one-third of households (34%) claim to have enough food to last for more than two weeks. But, do we feel secure with what we have? Even with our cupboards overflowing, food anxieties during this pandemic have us divided, as 27% say they think they should have more and 23% would be content with less food on hand.

What Are We Buying?

This week’s report goes deeper into what consumers say they are buying and why. Here are some areas we explore:

  • Private brands have experienced growth over the past three months and we explore the who and why of this growth.
  • We explore the who and why of fresh and frozen meats, seafood and vegetables.
  • Prepared and ready-to eat foods have had mixed experiences during the pandemic and we look at the level of concern around them in the current environment.
To learn more, visit our U.S. Grocery Shoppers Trends COVID-19 Tracker survey web page and download the report. FMI will be continuing to track consumer attitudes and perceptions over the summer. Stay tuned for more insights from the shoppers’ perspective.