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Study shows blurred lines among food channels

More than three-fourths of shoppers in a recent survey said they had purchased groceries from nontraditional food retailer in the past year, and nearly all — 96% — said they planned to do so within the next 12 months.

The survey, which was conducted by design firm King Retail Solutions in conjunction with the Arizona Center for Retailing among more than 1,200 shoppers across a range of demographics, also found that 62% said they had bought fresh meals from a non-restaurant, including many who bought meals in a supermarket.


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Among the 77% of shoppers who purchased groceries from a nontraditional food retailer, shelf-stable items were the most popular. Fifty-nine percent bought canned or boxed goods, followed by 54% who purchased dairy products, 49% who purchased bread, 42% who bought fresh fruit or vegetables, 38% who bought frozen foods and 22% who bought meat products.

About a quarter of all shoppers — 24% — made a grocery list intending to buy all their items at a non-traditional food retailer, most of whom planned to do their shopping at a big-box retailers like Walmart, Target Corp. or Costco Wholesale.

Millenials were much more likely to buy groceries at a convenience stores, with 57% saying they had done so, vs. 40% of Gen Xers and 36% of Baby Boomers.

Higher use of nontrational food retailers also correlated with high incomes — only 73% of those making less than $25,000 a year said they had purchased groceries from a nontraditional food retailer in the last year, compared with 83% of those making $150,000 or more.

Target was cited as the favorite nontraditional grocery destination, followed by Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and Costco.

Walmart was the favorite non-restaurant destination for those buying fresh prepared meals, followed by Target, Costco, Safeway, Kroger Co., Whole Foods Market, 7-Eleven, Trader Joe’s, Albertsons and Publix Super Markets.

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