ARLINGTON, VA. — Consumer grocery trends continue to evolve as shoppers increasingly focus on value driven propositions and convenient meal solutions, according to new data from FMI – The Food Industry Association.

The report, “US Grocery Shopper Trends: Finding Value,” utilized responses from over 2,000 primary shoppers in the United States to determine consumer behaviors and sentiments amid inflationary challenges. While 91% of shoppers are concerned with rising prices and have changed their shopping habits, only 32% are buying fewer items, and even less are cutting back on key food categories like organic (15%) and fresh products (14%), explained Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer of FMI.

“FMI's national survey found that grocery shoppers’ concerns about inflation have stabilized in recent months, illustrating how resilient consumers are when it comes to food shopping,” Sarasin said. “To manage higher prices, shoppers are increasingly prioritizing getting good value, which involves focusing more on quality and optimizing purchases for personal enjoyment, convenience and waste-reduction at home.”

Quick meal options, particularly those preparable in under half an hour, have grown significantly in popularity over the last four years. FMI found that 32% of shoppers spend less than 30 minutes preparing meals at home, up from 18% in 2020, and 75% spend less than an hour preparing their meals, an increase from 63% in 2020. The findings align with an earlier report from FMI, which identified that nearly 60% of consumers’ midday meals and 65% of morning meals are prepared in less than five minutes.

“In recent years, food retailers have innovated around solutions that range from meal kits and partially prepared options to ready-to-eat meals,” FMI said. “There is a tension, however, between shoppers’ desire for more efficient and enjoyable ways to prepare and cook meals and their desire to retain control and engagement in the process.

“Shoppers feel the best way retailers can support them is by providing better value food options … and more variety in easy-to-prepare foods … rather than weekly meal plans or simply more partially prepared options.”

In addition to convenience, consumers’ emphasis on health claims was another trend noted in the report. Claims that shoppers seek out the most frequently related to avoiding negatives (62%), such as low sugar, low sodium or low fat, minimal processing (47%), good sources of fiber (31%) and ethical practices (24%).