The recession is driving food shoppers of all regions, ages and incomes to adapt their spending and diet choices, reports the May 11 edition of the FMI/Nielsen/Lempert E-Newsletter. According to the Food Marketing Institute’s “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2009” report, 69% of shoppers say the recession is affecting their grocery shopping, compared to 48% in 2008.

That behavior is manifested by:

  • Eating out less or spending less when they do – 55% claim they spend less money dining out than one year ago, and 69% are eating out less; 50% say they’re eating in less expensive places.
In fact, a SupermarketGuru.com Quick Poll found that when consumers were asked how many times per week (of 21 possible meals) they ate away from home (breakfast, lunch or dinner), 24% said “none” and 44% said “one to two.” That's equates to more than two-thirds of adult respondents saying they eat less than 10% of meals outside of their homes.

They’re also not ordering take out. When asked, "how many times do you order take out or delivery in a week," more than half (55%) said “none,” and 38% said “one to two.” That's more than 9 of 10 who presumably are discovering new appreciations of home cooking.

  • Using more money-saving measures at the supermarket by trading down, substituting or eliminating purchases. More shoppers are browsing for deals in grocery flyers, clipping coupons and developing grocery lists than previously. The most popular in-store money-saving measure is purchasing private brand products: 66% of shoppers now purchase private label on a regular basis.
  • The increased focus on price and value is causing further erosion of supermarkets’ share of purchases. Down from 60% in 2008, 56% of shoppers identified a full-service supermarket as the store where they spent the majority of their grocery budget. Supercenters gained ground to 27%.
  • Shoppers looking to save money are cooking more at home. With 92% of consumers believing home-cooked meals are healthier than foods eaten when dining out, 46% of shoppers say they typically eat a lunch brought from home or eat lunch at home. That’s up from 24% in 2008. Meanwhile, 56% of shoppers working full-time now typically bring lunch from home, compared to 45% in 2008.
-- FMI/Nielsen/Lempert E-Newsletter