All Articles Food Restaurant and Foodservice How “grocerants,” millennials and technology are changing the shopping landscape

How “grocerants,” millennials and technology are changing the shopping landscape

3 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

Anyone who works in the consumer packaged goods industry can attest that the shopping landscape is evolving at an accelerated pace. As shifts in shopping and spending resulting from the rise of a new generation of consumers who embrace different values and lifestyles intersect with the exploding digital landscape, manufacturers and grocery retailers are faced with the challenge of understanding these changes and their implications.

Just released, in the ninth edition of The Why? Behind The Buy report by Acosta Sales & Marketing, we found most notably that the concept of “grocerants” — grocery stores acting as restaurants — is on the rise. Contrary to some reports, eating at home is not passé. Rather, it has evolved to meet the needs of busier lifestyles, more sophisticated palates and consumers who have become accustomed to immediate gratification. As consumers take advantage of ready-to-eat foods and meal solution offerings from grocery stores, quick-serve restaurants, food delivery and take away, shoppers are increasing eating out by actually eating in.

Millennials are most likely to use prepared foods for meal solutions, but overall:

  • 77% of total U.S. shoppers reported eating out in the past month.
  • 66% brought home prepared foods
  • 65% bought food at a restaurant drive through
  • 64% ordered food from a restaurant for pick-up/carryout

At a fundamental level, CPG companies and retailers must understand what motivates shoppers facing the ubiquitous question: “What’s for dinner?”

So, who’s still cooking at home? Most people, most of the time. That’s good news for both manufacturers and retailers who can provide simple yet enticing meal solutions. They have the opportunity to increase prepared foods sales by capitalizing on shoppers’ increasing desire for convenient, healthy and economical prepared meal solutions.

With one-third of shoppers skipping the prepared foods section (according to a recent study by Datassential), brands and retailers should promote prepared foods throughout the store and ensure adequate signage, keeping these specific strategies in mind:

  • Offer value menu options and low-calorie versions of home-cooked favorites (e.g. pizza, mac and cheese, etc.)
  • Advertise how the prepared meals are healthier and cheaper than the other dining options (e.g. QSR, fine dining, casual dining)
  • Include ready-to-eat options that would typically take a long time to prepare at home (e.g. barbequed or slow-cooked foods)
  • Provide a variety of ethnic meal options for millennial consumers, who embrace diverse cuisine

Offering unique, innovative dining options and services can help drive traffic, enhance the customer shopping experience and increase impulse purchases — creating a win-win for all parties.

Beyond grocerants, our research shows that technology use for grocery shopping is catching up to other retail shopping as more consumers, across generations, incorporate digital along their path to purchase. Among the top digital tactics are printing coupons online before shopping (30% of shoppers), loading coupons onto shopper cards from a website (26% of shoppers) and viewing a store’s digital circular (26% of shoppers).

In the report, we also examine the continued growth of the millennial influence, as this group is projected to outspend the boomer generation by 2020 with $65 billion in grocery spending shifting from boomers to millennials.

For more insights and strategies, download the full Why? Behind The Buy report for free.


Marianne Quinlan-Sacksteder is director of insights at AMG Strategic Advisors, the strategy and insights consulting unit of Acosta Sales & Marketing, providing integrated marketing and sales solutions for CPG companies and retailers. AMG Strategic Advisors leverages its retailer and industry experience to provide consulting, brand positioning, shopper and marketing insights and data analysis to increase sale momentum and drive ROI.