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Changing shopping trends presents opportunity for fresh produce marketers 

FFP circana consumer trends inflation

Pandemic and generational inflation has caused American grocery shoppers to change their behaviors.  

This represents a great opportunity for the fresh produce industry, said Jonna Parker, fresh team lead for Circana, but the industry hasn’t been able to take advantage of it so far. 

Parker presented research findings during a June 18, 2024, Foundation for Fresh Produce BB #:157162 webinar. 

Not surprisingly, inflation is top of mind for consumers, with 95 percent of all households saying food inflation concerns them, and 84 percent saying they’re making one or more changes to their food buying because of high food prices.  

“Consumers are spending 30 percent more on food than in 2019, while wages have only grown 16 percent [in that time],” Parker said. 

This places greater emphasis on value to consumers, but value means more than just price. It also means relevance and experience, which is where value-added can gain share, she said. 

Food inflation has caused consumers to shift spending to retail and away from foodservice. Parker said Circana data shows 61 percent of the food dollar is spent at retail vs. 39 percent at foodservice, and 86 percent of eating occasions are sourced from retail vs. 14 percent sourced from foodservice. 

Grocery shoppers are shopping for deals as evidenced by the data that shows consumers are making 12 percent more grocery trips than three years ago, Parker said, and trips buying fresh produce is up 7 percent in that time span, with produce being the only fresh category showing growth. 

Circana projects 2024 retail produce to grow 2-3 percent in dollars and 0-1 percent in volume. 

“It should be higher,” Parker said. 

She said the opportunities lie in groups that under-index in produce buying. 

The top 10 percent of produce shoppers buy 4.4 times as much produce as the remaining 90 percent, Parker said.  

Some of the over-indexing demographics are baby boomers (older than 60), household incomes over $100,000 per year, and smaller households. 

That means marketers need to grow sales among younger consumers, lower income groups, and large households, and that often involves promoting value, Parker said. 


Greg Johnson is Vice President of Media for Blue Book Services