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84.51° details 5 key grocery trends

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Grocery shopping
Freshness is a key trend for grocery shoppers according to 84.51°.

In response to high inflation, the habits of shoppers are evolving.

Many are opting for new store channels for food & beverage items, such as discount chains, supercenters, dollar chains and more, with the traditional grocery sector taking a hit in recent months.

84.51°, Kroger’s retail analytics agency, has shared a new report on five key consumer insights that will fuel the “next era” of grocer.

“The lingering impacts of inflation, an evolving shopping experience, shifts in brand loyalty and other factors are reshaping the grocery shopping landscape,” said the firm. “For CPG brands, this amounts to a new normal demanding nimble evolution. Standing still amid such shopper shifts is not an option. But with change comes opportunity to align with emerging customer needs and win loyalty through relevance.”

The five key insights include the following:

  • Insight #1: Budget-conscious shopping

Food & beverage inflation has waned in recent months, but that won’t stop consumers from looking for savings going forward. To save money, 84.51° says that customers are seeking out sales and deals more often, and even shoppers loyal to certain brands are looking for lower prices on products they regularly buy. 

  • Insight #2: Consumer willingness to switch to private label

On a related note, private label is expected to continue growing as shoppers look for more affordable options. More than 50% of Kroger shoppers say they’re open to switching from national brands to private label options, however their willingness to switch varies by category.

For basics like shelf-stable goods, household items, and OTC medicine, many customers are comfortable with store brands, while name brands still resonate in the pet, baby and beauty categories.

  • Insight #3: Consumers want a seamless omnichannel experience

As e-commerce grows, physical stores remain essential to most shoppers. Even shoppers most loyal to e-commerce still complete almost 40% of their grocery trips in-store, and 70% of shoppers across all age groups say they plan to continue shopping in stores in the future.

In its surveys, 84.51° found that convenience is the number one reason for shopping online, while selection is the top reason shoppers go in-store. Also, customers say that one thing they want to be consistent across in-store and online is value, with two out of three shoppers saying they expect the same coupons and pricing to be available across channels.

  • Insight #4: The evolving definition of loyalty

84.51° found that brand loyalty has become a subjective term, with only 5% of customers saying that their definition of brand loyalty means that it’s the only brand that they buy. Most shoppers defined brand loyalty as a spectrum ranging from a preferred brand to frequently purchased to even simply being part of their consideration set. 

84.51° says it is critical to protect and continuously re-earn brand loyalty by consistently engaging with customers through loyalty programs.

  • Insight #5: Freshness is a top priority

84.51°’s surveys show that a top product claim that grocery shoppers look for is “guaranteed fresh.” It’s considered more important than 100% natural, non-GMO, or other common food labels. Freshness appeals on many levels — quality, reducing waste, to name a few. 

With messaging centered on freshness, brands and retailers can tap into shopper priorities spanning sustainability, health, taste and affordability.

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