Prior to Covid-19, American consumers were spending more on food away from home than ever before. For example, the $931 billion consumers spent on overall food away from home expenditures in 2018 exceeded food at home expenditures by nearly $150 billion, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. However, as the American public grappled with the pandemic and stayed at home or social distanced during much of 2020, much of that trend reversed. Today, 58% of shoppers report eating more at home and nearly half (49%) report cooking or preparing their own meals more than before the pandemic. When it comes to grocery shopping to support these at-home meals, shoppers have a newfound appreciation for the task, with 42% saying they like or love to grocery shop, according to FMI — The Food Industry Association. The organization, in partnership with The Hartman Group, identified these trends in their new annual report, “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2021".  

“Throughout this past year, American grocery consumers have developed a deeper relationship with their kitchens, increased their healthy eating consciousness, and have learned new ways to shop,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said. “We see shoppers engaging in more stock-up trips to support their at-home cooking, exercising new online shopping skills, and letting their personal concept of being well impact their food and shopping behaviors. Looking ahead, we expect many of these trends to continue.”  In addition, the report found that the number of online grocery shoppers grew to nearly two-thirds (64%) of all U.S. adults, with newcomers from every generation. Frequency of online grocery shopping also increased, with more than one-fourth (29%) of online shoppers placing a weekly order. For the first time, many more online grocery shoppers now consider a mass retailer to be their primary store. FMI also found that “shoppers’ concept of being well involves an interlocking, circular relationship among the domains of shopping, cooking and eating and this phenomenon helps us understand shoppers’ engagement with the evolving retail landscape.”

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