By: Bianca Ruffin, Senior Manager, Marketing, FMI
I don’t need to tell you that every one of us shifted the way we lived as COVID-19 pandemic precautions led to closures and strict—but necessary—health protocols. Needless to say, it was extremely challenging.
For me, the trip to the grocery store was the only “normalcy” I experienced. While I had friends and family that moved their entire grocery experience online, I held on to the in-store trip like it was a lifeline. As a matter of fact, 64% of consumers shopped for groceries online during the past year, according to the 2021 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends (Trends) report. I happen to make up the 73% that visited a store for groceries at least weekly.
As we were faced with the unknowns that come with a pandemic, I took extra care to eat well—a growing phenomenon among many consumers. The grocery store remains crucial to my success in that endeavor. Not only did my primary grocery store serve as a reprieve from my four “home office” walls (which, by the way, doubled as my bedroom), but it was also an exhilarating excursion to shop through the beautiful produce aisles, move on to the decadent seafood selection, and fill my cart with my weekly grocery needs.
Not to mention, a lot of the new cooking skills I picked up during the pandemic are serving me well now. I’ll admit my lunches border on the gourmet side, and as I’ve returned to some restaurant meals, I’ve found myself wondering if my culinary skills could compete with even the most gastronomic of dishes.
For the food industry, Trends offers some insights into future differentiation strategies. According to Trends, the shifts in shopping, “portend a persistent elevation of retail spending, and ongoing opportunities to serve food shoppers through fresh-prepared solutions; inspiring in-store visits; and digitally enabled services to meet the evolving needs for wellness.” For me, in-store grocery shopping is where it’s at, and if I had to look into my crystal ball, I’d suggest shoppers will continue to enjoy in-store trips and home-cooked meals into the future.