Food for Thought: Phononic Survey Reveals Insight on U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends Now and Through the Holidays

Quality trumps cost, and generational differences emerge over store loyalty and need for convenience

DURHAM, N.C.--()--Phononic, the global leader in solid-state cooling and heating that is breaking the boundaries of semiconductor innovation, today announced the findings of its most recent survey evaluating consumer food shopping habits. The State of Grocery Retail Report from Phononic – which surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. consumers – uncovered insights into shoppers’ routine patterns, as well as specific trends during the busy holiday season. Additionally, the study looked to evaluate how preferences are evolving as younger Millennial and Gen Z consumers increasingly become a dominant buying cohort.

While conversations about the “grocery wars” today often center around price, Phononic’s study showed that consumers prefer to shop at food retailers that offer the best quality over those with the lowest price tags. In fact, quality was the highest-ranking factor (31%) that consumers consider when choosing a food retailer.

“With the rise of eCommerce, consumers have come to demand convenience and a seamless experience no matter where they shop, and brick-and-mortar retailers are increasingly embracing advanced in-store technology to compete in the digital age,” said Nicole Scott, Senior Product Manager, Food & Beverage at Phononic. “This survey also clearly shows that solid-state freezers and refrigerators at checkout can help innovative grocery retailers meet the high consumer demand for quality and convenience – ultimately improving brand loyalty.”

Phononic’s Store of the Future report, released earlier this year, found that 89% of consumers want to shop in a grocery store that understands how to make buying groceries an easier and/or more efficient experience. The State of Grocery Retail Report found that convenience is even more critical during the often stressful and busy holiday months, with 55% of consumers feeling that grocery retailers could make their lives easier this holiday season by grouping holiday items in one area of the store. The youngest demographic polled (ages 18-24), were especially drawn to convenience, with a quarter of respondents in this age group wanting to see popular items at checkout (26%) and pre-made holiday meal offerings (24%).

The good news for retailers is that consumers – across age groups – are most often loyal to one grocery store for the majority of their shopping, with just under a third (29%) identifying themselves as loyal shoppers. However, this trend shifts when looking at Millennial and Gen Z consumers. Thirty-four percent of 18-24-year-old respondents identify themselves as Bargain Hunters – demonstrating that food retailers must foster loyalty among this demographic. The study also found that the holiday season can impact loyalty, with 34% of consumers noting that during the holidays they make several trips to a variety of different stores for food shopping.

The report also revealed several additional key findings related to the holiday shopping season:

  • Grocery stores should rethink the checkout line, as one in four consumers (25%) would like to see more fresh produce offered at checkout this holiday season – even beating out alcohol, which came in third at 17%.
  • The regional grocery store is still a staple for consumers during the holidays, with 43% of respondents noting they do most of their holiday food shopping at these stores.
  • When it comes to holiday meal essentials, consumers want convenience, with one in six respondents noting they want premade holiday meal offerings to make their lives easier during the holidays, and one in four wanting to see fresh produce such as vegetables at checkout. When it comes to favorite holiday meals that consumers may want to see more of from food retailers, more than half (51%) of consumers surveyed listed mashed potatoes as a must-have side dish on their holiday table followed by stuffing at 45%.
  • Consumers want food retailers to make the holidays easier and more efficient, with the majority of shoppers (57%) agreeing that the crowds and long lines are the most frustrating part of shopping during the holidays.
  • Finally, turkey trends haven’t changed with the times, with the majority (57%) still buying their Thanksgiving turkey in a traditional grocery store, further solidifying the report’s finding that most consumers identify as loyal shoppers.

For more information on this study, please visit:

Phononic is revolutionizing the food & beverage industry with sustainable freezers and refrigerators that are transforming the retail environment. Offering everything from new placement opportunities and new revenue streams to earth-friendly sustainability, Phononic’s solid-state technology and thermal system design are rendering compressors obsolete. To learn more, visit:

About Phononic

Phononic is reimagining cooling and heating in ways never thought possible. Its breakthrough technology is transforming industries and creating new markets with innovative solid-state solutions that disrupt traditional models and ways of working. Using less energy, less ozone-depleting chemicals, less noise and space, Phononic’s thermal engine and integrated system design allow designers, engineers and industry leaders to reinvent and explore what’s possible. Phononic is the critical element of innovation needed to radically change what it means to be efficient, effective and sustainable. Rethink what has been designed to keep things cool and hot.

For more information visit or follow us on Twitter @Phononic_Inc.


PAN Communications
Emily Featherston, 617-502-4300


PAN Communications
Emily Featherston, 617-502-4300