Natural Foods Merchandiser

Eating at home trend could boost grocery sales

Grocery retailers could increase annual food sales by 3.2 percent as a result of consumers choosing to eat at home more, according to a new report from Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America. The economy has caused frugal customers to shift away from dining out in favor of cooking at home. A 2009 survey by the market research firm The Nielsen Company found that 46 percent of American households say they are eating out less.

CCRRC conducted its "Eating In" study in collaboration with The NPD Group, a global market research company. The custom study surveyed 2,000 households about the challenges consumers face around preparing dinner.

The report concluded that “the shift in consumer behavior toward eating at home offers food retailers a rare opportunity to increase customer loyalty by providing a larger share of their food needs,” the report said. For a store that does $500,000 per week in sales, the boost could mean $11,000 of additional sales, according to the report.

The biggest opportunities for sales increases come during dinner (1.5 percent). “The study establishes that there are significant upside sales-building opportunities in breakfast and lunch, but the biggest dollar opportunities are in the dinner occasion,” the report said. According to the study, the extra sales potential for dinner fare is more than $5,100 per week for a store that does $500,000 per week.

The study showed that the top five motivations driving dinnertime consumer food and beverage choices are taste (44.9 percent of dinner occasions), ease of preparation (41.6 percent), hunger satisfaction (39.8 percent) and pleasing to everyone (34.2 percent).

“[The study] also lays the groundwork for moving beyond just ‘selling more units’ to delivering new value in the form of meal solutions that encourage more shopper visits and purchases,” the report said. “New opportunities extend the range of customer services from making it quicker and easier for customers to plan meals, to doing more of the actual preparation.”

For more details, download the full report.

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