Top ten online purchasing trends for the food retail season

Top ten online purchasing trends for the food retail season

October 26, 2020

After months of impulsive retail purchasing patterns from consumers since the start of the pandemic, the only safe prediction this holiday food retail season is that retailers need to plan for the unexpected. We’re anticipating a $250 billion shift in consumer food spend from out-of-home to in-home based on an analysis USDA data and a 300% jump in online grocery sales. Now to help our food retail partners prepare both for a busy holiday season and trends we see continuing into the future, our VP of commercial development and analytics, Gina Garven, and our director of omnichannel strategy, Dana Klion, surveyed U.S. shoppers to better understand how they are shopping for groceries online and what they expect from their retail provider. Below is a top ten list of findings from the research.

Online grocery shopping is here to stay

1. 7 out of 10 shoppers who have been buying produce online in the past few months plan to continue to do so after the pandemic.
2. 54% of shoppers purchased fresh produce online for the first time since the start of COVID-19
3. 48% of shoppers prefer delivery above curbside or in-store pickup
4. More males state they prefer delivery to home (52%) as compared to females (44%), while similar percentage of females prefer curbside (43%) when buying produce online

Online shoppers care where their food comes from

5. More than half of respondents cite organic, non-GMO, fair trade, sustainability, environmentally friendly, local, nutrition or country of origin as extremely or very important
6. The majority of shoppers want these important characteristics listed in the product description when shopping online, versus as a special stamp/seal or outside the product description
7. Almost 1/3 of shoppers said a minority- or woman-owned business is extremely or very important when shopping online for produce

Digital shopping enhancements are key to online shopper loyalty

8. 1 in 3 online shoppers want the ability to review recipes on retailer sites and add specific ingredients directly to their cart from the recipe page
9. Other shoppers cite a feature focused on nutrition and tips for their produce after purchase like how to store and cook
10. Consumers value the ability to directly communicate with their shopper during purchasing

Understanding these insights will be an important first step in preparing for a busy holiday season, especially given consumer expectations shortening the inventory replenishment window from days or weeks down to hours. Agility will also be critical, as retailers are faced with higher demand, shorter timelines, accelerated change, and tighter transportation capacity all at the same time. We are supporting our retail partners by deploying a series of rapid solutions to optimize retailer agility and give them direct visibility into the entire food supply chain from product origination to store shelf or digital cart. From understanding product trends, to technology and logistics needs, our retail solutions offering ensures products are in the right place at the right time.

Visit Robinson Fresh’s website for more information on how our primary research survey, referenced above, can translate into successful omnichannel retail experiences. Or, connect with an expert to learn how C.H. Robinson can leverage its information advantage and scale to ensure your company has the agility and strategy required to navigate retail change and uncertainty.

Michael Castagnetto

Michael Castagnetto - President of Robinson Fresh

Michael Castagnetto is the President of Robinson Fresh. He has built and sustained relationships with growers, suppliers and customers with a goal of helping them build, develop and evolve their supply chains. Michael uses his almost 20 years of experience and knowledge to open up global perishable supply chains and continue to build relationships with those in the fresh produce industry. His specialty is complex supply chains with a focus on fresh produce and integration of logistics to drive growth for customers.

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