CHICAGO, IL, 2017-Jun-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today (Jun 12, 2017) released its U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017 analysis, which reveals shopper demand for dimensions of transparency along the supply chain challenged by an evolving marketplace. The research signaled that U.S. grocery shoppers want more than just information; they desire transparency that engages them, offering assurances of food safety, the pursuit of health and wellness, the appetite for discovery and a closer connection to food.
FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin presented this year’s findings in front of more than 400 of the industry’s future leaders in Chicago at FMI’s professional development conference. Sarasin relayed, “[Consumers] can handle the truth, and the information they do want to know, they want delivered in a clear, forthright, trustworthy and easy-to-find way that conveys some sense of vulnerability and openness. This is a crucial area because I think honest clarity is the currency of trust in the digital age.”
While less traditional retailers enjoy more grocery traffic and shopper loyalty, FMI Trends data note that eight percent of shoppers still claim to have “no primary store.” Limited assortment (25%), natural (17%), convenience (11%), ethnic (11%) and online only (11%) food stores are increasingly frequented by shoppers. This is particularly significant because this year the research suggests how comfortable Millennials have suddenly become with using online shopping for their grocery needs, although they still order only a limited breadth of food products online.
Sarasin insisted that the unpredictable state of the marketplace demands a strategy to help transform a retailer from “just a store” to an ally. According to the Trends findings, overall shopper ratings of how well stores are meeting their needs favor those retail channels that lead in transparency, including natural and organic, online-only, club, fresh-focused, and midmarket traditional grocery stores. Conversely, retail channels trailing in transparency include discount, convenience, supercenter, limited, dollar, drug and value-focused. Consumers continue to view their primary store also as a primary ally in their wellness pursuits (45%).
The analysis cites dimensions of transparency that can help retailers better connect consumers with the broader context of their food, notably a retailer that demonstrates easy access to relevant information, clear quality standards, proactivity and accountability, fair treatment of employees and openness about business practices. In fact, the findings describe the way consumers rank fresh-focused traditional grocery stores and natural and organic stores, above value-focused traditional supermarkets across all dimensions of transparency.
Emphasizing that transparency lends relevance to the retailer-shopper relationship, Sarasin said, “In the competitive food retail landscape and in an age in which information moves faster and faster, the consumer demand for clear and honest answers offers a zip-line to confidence in the complex food system.”
Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry. FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores. For more information, visit www.fmi.org and for information regarding the FMI foundation, visit www.fmifoundation.org.
Senior Director, Media and Public Relations