U.S. consumers making more frequent, smaller shopping trips, with more than 60% of shopping trips classed as instant-need-driven trips with average basket value of US$15, researchers say

LOS ANGELES , May 3, 2012 () – U.S. consumers are making more frequent and smaller shopping trips, with value including health concerns at the forefront of their shopping ethos, according to the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) “What’s in Store 2012” trends report, Convenience Store Decisions reported May 2.

More than 60% of U.S. food shopping trips are classed as instant-need driven trips with average basket value of US$15, Nielsen Co. said.

In 2011, the average number of weekly shopping trips fell to 1.7, down from 2.2 in 2005, the Food Marketing Institute reported. Consumers considered low prices the most important factor when selecting their primary grocery store.

Many consumers are still holding on to their recession-born spending habits. Year-over-year, the percentage of shoppers that said they eat out less frequently fell to 60% in 2011, down from 65% the previous year. Thirty-six percentof shoppers reported seeking out private label products in an effort to save money, down from 44% the previous year. 38% said that they had stopped buying their favorite brands in an effort to save money, down from the 46% of consumers that said the same in 2010, market research firm SymphonyIRI Group reported.

Fifty-six percent of consumers read store fliers before shopping, and two-thirds make shopping lists beforehand, SymphonyIRI added.

U.S. consumers believe that organic foods are more flavorful and have a higher nutritional value than their non-organic components. In 2010, the U.S. organic industry grew 7.7% to $28.6 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association.

After mass market and traditional retailers added organic product lines, organic shoppers began buying more food items at these types of stores than at natural food stores. More than two-thirds of shoppers indicated that organic product selection was an important consideration when choosing a food retailer.

The popularity of ethnic food is increasing, with Japanese, Caribbean, and Thai foods ranked as the most popular. In 2010, specialty food sales, which accounted for 13.1% of all U.S. retail food sales, increased 7.4%, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) reported.

In 2010, the largest specialty foods categories were cheese and cheese alternatives, which were worth $3.23 billion and accounted for 10.1%, of retail sales, NASFT added.

Leading new product claims included all-natural, environmentally-friendly packaging, ethical and kosher.

The primary source of this article is Convenience Store Decisions, Rocky River, Ohio, on May 2, 2012.

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