The Food Institute Blog

The Food Institute Blog

Grocery Sales Trump Restaurants As Landscape Changes
Posted on April 15, 2015 by Brian Todd

Americans are not spending more dining out than for groceries, contrary to a report by Bloomberg. They are, however, not always doing so at their local supermarket. The 87-year old Food Institute has been tracking retail sales of food for decades and restaurant and bar sales in March did outpace sales at grocery stores by about $2.54 billion. However, consumers spent about $25 billion more for groceries at other retail venues selling food and consumable products that were not included in the numbers used in the Bloomberg article.

Breaking it down, The Food Institute estimates $17 billion more was spent for groceries at warehouse clubs and supercenters, another $6 billion at other food retailers like butchers, bakers and specialty food stores, approximately $1.5 billion at drug stores, and nearly half a billion online.  

Adding the above into the mix puts actual grocery sales at around $75 billion in March - 42% more than eating and drinking place sales. And that doesn’t even include groceries sold at mass merchandisers like Walmart and Target’s traditional locations.

In 2014, 30% of shoppers said their primary store for food shopping was not a grocery store, but rather a supercenter, a warehouse club or a discount store reported FMI. And that is exactly what is being reflected in the data but unfortunately it makes it more difficult to track the food retailing industry as a whole.

How would you like to see us present the data as a result of this evolution? What would be the most helpful to you in running your business?

Posted in Foodservice  


About the Author

Brian Todd
The Food Institute

Brian became president of The Food Institute in 2002 and has worked for this non-profit, founded in 1928, since 1980. Brian has been interviewed on consumer and food industry trends on a number of television programs, including Fox News, The Today Show, NBC News, the CBS Evening News and the PBS Nightly Business Report, and quoted in publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal and New York Times to Supermarket News, Progressive Grocer and Food Processing magazine. He has also been a frequent guest on various Public radio programs discussing food prices, mergers & acquisitions, and other industry issues.

Brian graduated from Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ with a B.A. in Political Science and also holds a Masters in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University.


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