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675: Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is a task that both is reflective of the current norms of a culture — and can impact that same culture. It’s a combination of the relationship we have with food, food production, eating habits, food preparation habits, time use, and more.

Which makes it not entirely surprising that, depending on the culture, the norms vary pretty widely. In a 2015 study of Australian shopping habits, for example, quote:

Research from AusVeg’s Project Harvest has last week revealed the weekly grocery shop to be a thing of the past. The average Australian is now going to the supermarket almost three times a week or approximately 135 times a year. Only one third of Australians are shopping once a week. Whilst many shoppers do a main shop every week, many are using late trading hours to easily grab ‘top ups’ throughout the week. They will also go back down to the shops a number of times to get  treats or to go to a specialty food shop. The research found that 80 per cent of Australians are buying vegetables multiple times throughout the week. Most of our shopping is still done in the major supermarkets with consumers preferring the convenience over supporting local and independent outlets.

Meanwhile, a 2015 study of shopping habits of residents of the United States found that most people make between 1.5 and 1.7 shopping trips to the grocery store each week, with around 40 minutes spent on each trip. That same study found an average of 2.2 trips per week in 2012.

But – this may become a moot point, at least in some countries, fairly soon. In Forbes in May of 2018, one contributor reported, quote:

A new study by Morning Consult reveals that a majority of American consumers are resisting the siren call for online shopping convenience in favor of the in-store shopping experience. Further, they are resistant to changing their habits anytime soon. Some 65% of consumers say they have no interest in buying food or beverages online, even when their options improve

That’s not the only research out there, though. A very recent report out of French research group Capgemini took a look at five countries and found that, quote:

Some 40 percent of customers currently order groceries online at least once a week, with the number expected to reach 55 percent by 2021. 63% of consumers order online because they find retail stores as crowded as public transport is during rush hour. And over three-quarters (76%) order groceries online as it allows them to choose products at their own leisure. It is a consistent phenomenon across key markets and, in the US, it rises to 81% of consumers.

In other words, how we shop is changing pretty significantly, no matter where or how often we do it.