Three Key Grocery Shopper Trends in 2024

grocery shopper

Grocery shoppers are adapting their buying patterns in response to economic uncertainties and external influences in 2024. Alex Trott, director of insights at 84.51°, delved into three prominent trends shaping the behavior of today’s grocery shoppers on a recent episode of The Food Institute Podcast.

These trends not only reflected the impact of inflation on grocery shoppers but also underscored the pivotal role of personalized experiences in meeting the evolving needs of the modern consumer.

Empowering Grocery Shoppers to Cook at Home

One notable trend identified by Trott is the sustained surge in home cooking preferences. Even post-COVID, consumers are opting to cook at home rather than dine out, defying initial expectations of a return to pre-pandemic habits. She said the enduring appeal of home cooking highlights how consumers have embraced recipes and the joy of preparing meals in the comfort of their homes while developing their skills in the kitchen and for their friends and families.

This shift necessitated a reevaluation of grocery store offerings and services to cater to the growing demand for home-cooking-centric products and solutions.

“During COVID, people really liked cooking at home, and were getting into recipes and needed to cook at home because they couldn’t go out. It was certainly anticipated that people would return to going out,” she said on the podcast.

“We’ve really seen a sustained trend (of) people wanting to cook from home … more than they’re eating out.”

Understanding Grocery Shopper Concerns: Inflation’s Impact

In addition to the preference for home cooking, Trott shed light on the escalating financial anxiety among grocery shoppers. With inflation casting a shadow over household budgets, 65% of shoppers expressed extreme concern about rising prices, particularly in essential fresh food categories such as dairy, meat, and produce.

The podcast highlighted an intriguing statistic: 83% of those uncomfortable with their finances identified grocery prices as their primary worry. This heightened awareness underscores the necessity for the grocery industry to adapt swiftly and implement strategies to mitigate the impact of inflation on consumer sentiment.

“It’s just fascinating to think about: 83% of shoppers that are uncomfortable with their finances say grocery prices are at the top of that list. Again, it’s because they’re so aware, it’s a habit: you have to go in every week and shop. And you know, people spend a lot of money at the grocery store,” Trott added.

Omnichannel’s Importance for the Modern Grocery Shopper

Addressing the concerns of grocery shoppers amidst rising prices requires a multifaceted approach. Trott emphasized the importance of leveraging personalized experiences and digital innovations to navigate these challenges successfully. Providing value, affordability, and reassurance will be crucial in maintaining customer loyalty during these turbulent times.

Furthermore, Trott explored the significance of omnichannel strategies in the modern grocery landscape. According to her findings, 39% of surveyed grocery shoppers intend to maintain their current shopping habits while 15% plan to increase their online shopping and 9% anticipate a reduction in online purchases. Trust emerged as a significant factor influencing shoppers’ decisions to visit physical stores, with 50% expressing concerns about someone else selecting their products.

When it came to online grocery shopping, convenience remained king.

“The number one reason people shop online (in both pickup and delivery) is for convenience. Two-thirds of shoppers reported that that’s why they shop online,” said Trott.

The Food Institute Podcast

It’s been a rough four years for the modern grocery consumer – first, the pandemic shifted many consumer habits and subsequent inflation challenged their budgets. Alex Trott, director of insights with 84.51°, helps break down current pain points and opportunities that consumers are facing, including increased anxiety, stretched finances, and a need for omnichannel solutions.