American shopping behaviour trends suggest cocooning trend still in play

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 16th September 2009

Research from Whole Foods Market, the leading American organic foods supermarket, has discovered that around two-thirds of consumers have altered their cooking and eating habits as a result of the economic turbulence.

The results, from its annual Food Shopping Trends Tracker survey conducted by Harris Interactive, found about half (51 per cent) eating dinner at home more often and more than a third (37 per cent) budgeting food shopping trips more strictly.

The majority (76 per cent) say they do not want to compromise on the quality of the food they buy, regardless of current food prices. While three in four (75 per cent) also continue to purchase natural and/or organic foods in the same quantities as they always have and nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of consumers surveyed indicate they would like to find ways to be able to buy these foods within their budget.

“We recognise that shoppers should be able to cut costs, not corners when buying natural and organic foods,” A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market, said. “This research is in sync with what we are seeing right now with our customers as they are taking advantage of our in-store value programs and specials, and they are turning to us for meal planning and ideas more than ever before, especially via our website.”

Of the adults who said their grocery shopping habits have been affected by current food prices, half (54 per cent) are using more coupons and a similar number are more likely to comparison shop, while 45 per cent are more likely to buy private label/grocery store brands.

Interestingly, four in five adults (80 per cent) think the price of groceries, in general, has increased since this time last year, according to the survey. However, according to the US Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index release for July 2009, the food at home index has declined for the seventh time in the past eight months for a total decrease of 2.6 percent from its peak in November 2008.

Cocooning trend

The survey discovered that most adults (79 per cent) cook at home. More than half (54 per cent) saying they do so to save money, while 44 per cent of respondents say they simply enjoy eating their favourite foods in the comfort of their home and 41 per cent suggested they cook at home to ensure they are eating healthfully.

Among parents who provide breakfast, packed school lunches and/or after-school snacks for their children, nearly half (45 per cent) say they would like to find ways to provide these types of healthy foods within their budget, and some (20 per cent) insist on providing these healthy food items, with little attention to price.