By: Ashley Eisenbeiser, Senior Director, Food and Product Safety Programs, Food Marketing Institute

ShoppingwithatoddlerGrocery shopping with a toddler is like shopping with a ticking time bomb. You have a finite amount of time to get your shopping completed before the inevitable meltdown ensues. From the parking lot to the check-out aisle, I live life like an Olympic track star, speed and time are my strongest assets.  

What does it mean to live life on the verge of a meltdown? It’s finding a tri-solution of a convenient meal, convenient location and a convenient offering of products. Those factors may vary week to week depending on schedules, sanity, toddler mood swings and my family’s shopping needs. On the bright side, the growing trend of personalization across the grocery industry helps overcome many of these challenges as retailers support shoppers in meeting both their personal and household needs.

Convenient Meals

Family meals are important to my family. Eighty-four percent of households with kids want to eat more meals at home together or prepare more meals at home, according to 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends.  Although our ‘family meal’ has transformed over the years, we always make it a priority to gather as a family around the table. My aspiration to continue eating well, coupled with an increased desire for convenience, empowers me to seek creative solutions to ensure my family’s needs are met.  

That means the microwave is now my biggest asset for preparing meals. Frozen is my new fresh. My desire to explore new recipes has transformed into a desire to explore new convenient meals. I’ve evolved from hater of leftovers to lover of leftovers.  And, my husband plays a greater role in preparing meals.

Convenient Location

While, the average shopper visits 4.4 different retail banners in a typical month, I calculated that I visit at least nine different banners in a month. I am part of the eight percent of shoppers who do not have a primary store. Some weeks I find myself shopping at a traditional, full-service supermarket while other weeks I shop at a supercenter, a club store, a convenience store, a dollar store, or even a drug store. And, if the store offers grocery carts in the shape of a car…that is an added BONUS.

My diverse shopping experience across various channels and banners is a means of personalization – albeit, nine might be a bit much.  I am confident that in the coming years my grocery experience will change.  While the number of channels and banners I will shop at remains unknown; undoubtedly, the evolution of food shopping will include enhanced efficiency and convenience. 

Convenient Offerings 

Although the number of different banners I visit in a given month is almost double the average shopper, I try to limit my weekly shopping visits to once per week.  My one to two weekly trips to the store for groceries is consistent with most shoppers who on average make 1.6 trips each week, according to the latest Trends report.  The revolution of the grocery industry to meet the needs of changing shopper types has made the grocery shopping experience a little bit easier. The expansion of non-food product offerings has helped overcome many of challenges faced as a Millennial mom. A store that is a “one-stop” shop, meaning they offer a wide selection of both food and non-food products, is an essential attribute to me when I decide where to go.  

The ultimate measure of convenience for me is determined by how quickly I can get in and out of the store while getting everything that I need on my list. My last shopping experience consisted of a shopping cart filled with a number of these non-food products including pool floats, sidewalk chalk, wine glasses, and grill tools. My shopping cart is a great example of how broad product selection with variety plays a role in attracting customers.  

So, next time you see a mom whizzing around the aisle with a child on the verge of a meltdown, step to the side, she is running the grocery shopping race and has almost made it to the finish line…CHECK OUT.

Download U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends