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    Grocery Shoppers Want Transparency, But C-stores Are Trailing

    FMI: Retailers can provide business practice openness.

    CHICAGO — Today’s consumers are in search for more than just information; they want transparency that engages them, assures them of food safety, and gives them an overall closer connection to food, according to the latest analysis from Food Marketing Institute (FMI).

    U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017 found that when it comes to how retail channels meet consumers’ need for transparency, natural and organic, online-only, club, fresh-focused, and midmarket traditional grocery stores make the top of the list. Conversely, retail channels trailing in transparency include: convenience, discount, supercenter, limited, dollar, drug and value-focused.

    The analysis cites better paths retailers can take to transparency when it comes to the broader context of their food. Notable changes are: demonstrating easy access to relevant information and clear quality standards; proactivity and accountability; fair treatment of employees; and openness about business practices.  

    “In the competitive food retail landscape and in an age in which information moves faster and faster, the consumer demand for clear and honest answers offer a zip-line to confidence in the complex food system,” stated FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. “[Consumers] can handle the truth, and the information they do want to know, they want delivered in a clear, forthright, trustworthy and easy-to-find way that conveys some sense of vulnerability and openness. This is a crucial area because I think honest clarity is the currency of trust in the digital age.”

    She added that the unpredictable state of the marketplace demands a strategy to help transform a retailer from “just a store” to an ally.

    According to Trends, while less traditional retailers enjoy more grocery traffic and shopper loyalty, 8 percent of shoppers still claim to have “no primary store.” Limited assortment (25 percent), natural (17 percent), convenience (11 percent), ethnic (11 percent) and online-only (11 percent) food stores are increasingly frequented by shoppers; however, 45 percent of consumers who do have a primary store view it as an ally in their wellness pursuits.

    FMI data also suggests that millennials have become more comfortable with using online shopping for their grocery needs, although they still order only a limited amount of food products online.

    For more information on U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017, click here.

    Chicago-based Food Marketing Institute offers resources and benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations. 

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