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5 Top Consumer Spending Trends in Grocery

5 Top Consumer Spending Trends in Grocery

Nielsen has released its "Total Consumer Report" (July 2019), which provides top trends and market predictions for the industry. The market research firm is highlighting five key areas: cannabis, online sales, meat alternatives, private label and fresh.

See Progressive Grocer's 72nd Annual Consumer Expenditures Study for more on these categories and others. 


The research shows that legalized cannabis sales reached $8 billion in 2018 and are expected to grow to $40 billion by 2025, becoming much more mainstream.

"Expect a broad impact across a number of CPG categories from beverages, supplements to unsuspected categories such as cooking substitutes," Nielsen said. 

Online Sales

Ecommerce sales are expected to double in the next five years, with the average American shopper already spending over 24 percent more online than they were two years ago. 

"Amazon may not have as big of a foothold as other players up their online game to deliver greater convenience for consumers," Nielsen noted.

Meat Alternatives

With 61 percent of U.S. consumers looking to reduce their meat consumption, many of them are exploring meat alternatives in search of dietary protein.

"Meat alternatives that’ll stick around long-term will take advantage of the clean-label trend," according to Nielsen, "gaining an edge up with consumers looking to protect the planet and their health."

Private Label

Some private label brands are becoming premium products, with sales of store brands up $14 billion, and 40 percent saying they'd pay more for the right store-branded product.

Nielsen's outlook: "Private label dollars will shift from discounters to high-end stores, and name brands will find a new clientele at discount retailers."


Seasonings, cheeses, prepared foods, snacks and other random-weight fresh products brought in $4.6 billion last year, but many retailers and manufacturers lack visibility in the category.

"Retailers that have a handle on their random-weight offerings can capitalize on these products," Nielsen observed, noting that fresh was "[a]n opportunity that is already growing [twice] as fast as UPC-coded products." 

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