By: Kelli Windsor, Senior Director, Digital Communications, FMI

back to school time for parents and kids


As a parent this time of year is BUSY. On the heels of summer vacation comes the back to school season with lots of changes and challenges including a new school, different teachers, brand new clothes, school supply needs and much more. This season also brings the start-up of afterschool activities that each require equipment and schedule juggling. Of course, there is still a job to be done, bills to be paid and family meals that need to be planned, purchased, cooked, and delivered to the table.

Our latest report in the 2023 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends series focuses on parents and their grocery shopping habits, particularly as they face this busy time of year. The report provides insights for the food industry on how they can better support the 33.2 million households in America with children in their grocery shopping needs.

Investing in Online Grocery Shopping Benefits Parents

Parents have discovered the convenience of online grocery shopping and are sticking with it. Most parents (89%) shop for groceries online at least occasionally and 24% of parents shop online almost every time. This trend isn’t likely to subside with 42% of parents reporting a year-over-year increase in frequency for grocery shopping online.

Food retailers are still tinkering with their online grocery shopping options. As they continue to finetune, they should keep parents in mind and how online shopping can turn the weekly grocery trip from a chore to a joy by providing convenience, quality, experience and relevance—all part of today’s grocery shoppers’ value matrix.

Offer Meal Solutions

More than any other group of shoppers, parents have changed their food consumption behaviors. The report finds that 63% of parents are now eating at home, 59% cook/prepare their own meals and 45% bring food from home to work.

Parents are looking for meal solutions and the food industry is perfectly positioned as a resource and ally. Offer ways for parents to create hybrid meals that combine scratch cooking with pre-made items. Cross-merchandise products to create meal solutions that delight and inspire. Providing busy parents with easy and nutritious meal solutions is sure to go a long way to securing their loyalty.

Promote and Support Parents to Join the Family Meals Movement

Back to school season is also family meal season. With September, National Family Meals Month™ now is a great time to support families in joining the Family Meals Movement. Research has found that people who eat more meals together eat more fruits and vegetables and have better diets in general. Family meals also improve family connectedness, communication, expressiveness and problem solving.

Get creative with your family meal promotions and celebrate them year-round. The FMI Foundation has a Family Meals Movement toolkit filled with new infographics, messaging, innovative promotion ideas and more.  

Download U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends Back to School