From the Store to the Stove, Acosta Research Shows Grocery Shopper Behavior Influenced by Engagement with Food

New ‘The Why? Behind The Buy™’ Foreshadows Grocery Retail Evolution in 2017

Insights from Acosta's 13th edition of The Why? Behind The Buy™. (Graphic: Business Wire)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--()--Today’s shoppers are seeking positive culinary experiences, making deliberate decisions from the store to the stove, including wanting to feel good about the foods they eat, have pride in the brands they buy and share their cooking journeys online. Ahead of the new year, research released today in the 13th edition of The Why? Behind The Buy™ from Acosta — a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry — details the choices and behaviors of grocery shoppers as they look to enhance how they purchase and consume food.

“The experiential factor is driving today’s shoppers to make food choices rooted in what will bring them personal satisfaction and enjoyment,” said Colin Stewart, Senior Vice President at Acosta. “As we head into 2017, it’s important that brands and retailers think about how their product offerings contribute to grocery shoppers’ positive experiences from the moment the item is spotted on the store shelf to when it reaches their kitchen tables.”

Acosta’s The Why? Behind The Buy also explores the key factors contributing to this experiential evolution for grocery shoppers:

The growing natural/organics category

Shoppers’ spending on healthy products, including natural/organic offerings, has seen steady growth in the past several years, driven by the desire of shoppers to feel good about the foods they’re eating.

  • Forty-five percent of shoppers eat healthy foods even though they are more expensive.
  • Thirty-eight percent of shoppers agree, "I often buy natural/organic products because I know they are better for me."
  • On a typical shopping trip, Millennial shoppers indicated that 39 percent of the items in their grocery carts were organic products, while total U.S. shoppers indicated just over 25 percent of the items in their typical carts were organic products.
  • Twenty-six percent of Millennial shoppers indicated they usually stay on the store perimeter — such as the produce, meat and dairy sections — only visiting select center-store aisles during stock-up trips.
  • More Millennial shoppers are familiar with non-meat diet choices, with 18 percent following a non-meat/low-meat diet daily.

Loyalty and trust in grocery retailers and brands

Shoppers are loyal to their stores and selective about the brands they buy, wanting to feel a personal connection as part of the overall experience.

  • Nine in 10 shoppers indicated shopping most often at the same grocery retailers as last year.
  • Fifty-four percent of shoppers enjoy the experience of shopping for ingredients to prepare the meals they have planned.
  • Seventy-seven percent of shoppers are buying the same grocery brands as last year.
  • Thirty-seven percent of shoppers want their grocery brands to be transparent about their ingredients, processing or production.
  • Forty-six percent of shoppers agreed they want their grocery brands to be ones they can trust.
  • Thirty-five percent of shoppers buy grocery brands that are socially responsible.

Cooking as a culinary experience, not a chore

Many shoppers enjoy the experience of planning and creating meals at home.

  • Fifty-six percent of shoppers enjoy the experience of planning meals for their households.
  • Sixty percent of shoppers enjoy preparing new dishes.
  • Forty-five percent of Millennial shoppers want to take cooking classes to learn how to prepare new meals and dishes.
  • Fifty-four percent of shoppers often check out new items in the grocery store.

The influences of the digital marketplace on grocery shopping

As the intersection of brick and mortar retail and the digital marketplace continues to expand, shoppers have access to more products, promotions and grocery solutions at their fingertips than ever before.

  • Sixty-one percent of shoppers have redeemed digital/mobile coupons in the past month for grocery items.
  • Fifty-nine percent of shoppers who have grocery e-commerce available said they had ordered grocery items online in the last year.
  • Fifty-three percent of shoppers get recipe ideas online.
  • Nineteen percent of shoppers — and twenty-five percent of shoppers with children — have posted food or recipe content to social media.

“From online grocery ordering and a desire to explore new foods, to natural products and socially responsible brands, consumers are at the wheel when it comes to steering the CPG industry in a new direction,” Stewart continued. “There’s no doubt that this evolution will continue in the coming year, so it’s up to the industry to adapt by leaning into these trends and building trust and loyalty among all shoppers.”

The Why? Behind The Buy™ 13th edition was produced with research using a nationally representative random sample of U.S. shoppers via Acosta’s proprietary ShopperF1rst™ online survey methodology. To access the full report, visit

About Acosta

Acosta is the sales and marketing powerhouse behind most of the trusted brands seen in stores every day. The company provides a range of outsourced sales, marketing and retail merchandising services throughout the U.S. and Canada. For almost 90 years, Acosta has led the industry in helping consumer packaged goods companies move products off shelves and into shoppers’ baskets. For more information, please visit


Vault Communications
Allie Artur, 610-455-2760

Release Summary

Acosta's 13th edition of The Why? Behind The Buy™ details the choices and behaviors of grocery shoppers as they look to enhance how they purchase and consume food.


Vault Communications
Allie Artur, 610-455-2760