Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Arlington, Va., released the 45th edition of “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends,” prepared by The Hartman Group, Inc., Bellevue, Wash., which studies what consumers want from their retailers when personalizing grocery shopping.

“One-third of households have at least one family member following a non-medically prescribed diet, and this rate is higher for younger generations,” says Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “In an effort to meet their idea of eating well, households are eating in increasingly personalized ways, challenging the food shopping experience.”

Shoppers see the process of shopping across channels and banners as a personalization strategy. According to the study, shoppers visit an average of 4.4 banners per month and regularly shop 3.1 channels to meet their diverse grocery needs. Shoppers expect food retailers to evolve with their needs, offering more personalization, but generally, they are satisfied with their primary store’s ability to “meet their needs.”

Among brick-and-mortar grocery store selection criteria, quality, freshness, low prices, cleanliness and variety represent ways the physical store competes for shopper loyalty. The list of attributes related to convenience in a physical store underpin a growing consideration among Gen Z and Millennials to shop online. Shoppers rank their online experience slightly better than those in physical stores when it comes to transparency, convenience and personalization, but online is not cannibalizing in-store visits—43% of consumers who shop online also average 1.7 trips a week to their physical stores, higher than the national average of 1.6 trips per week. These desires for both convenience and discovery also lead to shoppers experimenting with more personalized methods for collecting groceries, such as delivery or click-and-collect methods.

Trends explores the current food retail marketplace and the influential roles health, well-being and technology play in the experience,” Sarasin says. “Food shopping is personal, and grocers help their shoppers navigate shifting needs, values, priorities and life pressures that require teamwork, negotiation and compromise at home.”

Findings are based on ethnographic interviews and a quantitative online survey of 1,786 U.S. grocery shoppers fielded in 2019.