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Shoppers Prioritizing Affordability for Food Buying in 2023

Cost effectiveness expected to trump wellness as main purchase driver
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
IFIC report - shopper
Shoppers are increasingly taking price and convenience into consideration when making food and beverage purchases.

Regardless of past wellness trends in food shopping, today’s consumers are more focused than ever on affordability and convenience, according to the annual "What's Trending in Nutrition" survey from Pollock Communications and Today's Dietitian. Nearly 800 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) took a look at what consumers will value in 2023, as well as their top concerns while grocery shopping.

The RDNs that responded to the survey agreed that while the pandemic brought a focus on wellness and food as medicine, consumers this year will put a greater priority on prices as they navigate the cost-of-living crisis. The survey found that the top purchase drivers for food and beverages in 2023 will be, respectively, affordability and value; accessibility and convenience; and immunity support.

[Read more: "H-E-B Topples Amazon as Top U.S. Grocery Retailer"]

Snacking is expected to remain an important trend for consumers, with boredom, comfort and working from home being the top drivers.

"Consumers are more aware than ever of the benefits food can provide for gut health and immune function,” said Louise Pollock, president of New York City-based Pollock Communications. “As consumers face higher costs at the grocery store, they'll be looking for affordable food and snacks that still provide valuable health benefits.”

Continued Pollock: "Our survey findings reflect how consumer behaviors are shifting as COVID-19 restrictions loosen, remote work remains and inflation rises – from prioritizing affordable foods to continued interest in snacking."

Additionally, the study found that while consumers look to social media platforms for nutrition information, it can be easy to fall victim to nutrition misinformation. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are the biggest sources of misinformation, with influencers being the biggest culprits.

"Social media influencers are talking about wellness and nutrition at rates never seen before, but people struggle to differentiate between credible information and myths. This only supports the need to amplify credible sources of nutrition information, like registered dietitian nutritionists," said Mara Honicker, publisher of Today's Dietitian. "With the survey in its 11th year, we are excited to continue to share insights from these experts in food and nutrition, at a time where the value of food is subject to more scrutiny."

Finally, the study identified the top 10 superfoods that shoppers will seek out in 2023, each of which fits into a plant-based diet for the first time. Those include:

  1. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, kombucha tea and pickled vegetables
  2. Seeds, such as chia and hemp
  3. Blueberries
  4. Avocados
  5. Nuts, including pistachios, almonds and walnuts
  6. Leafy greens, such as spinach
  7. Aquatic greens, such as algae, seaweed and sea moss
  8. Green tea
  9. Ancient grains
  10. Non-dairy milks
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