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Grocers say sustainability is a key priority in 2023

The vast majority said waste reduction is critical

The booming shopper interest in sustainability is having a major influence on supermarket operating strategies.  

In its January survey of grocery executives and consumers, Grocery Doppio, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based research and insights firm, found that 71% grocers listed sustainability as a key priority for 2023; 76% see it as a C-level goal; and 43% said they have or will appoint a senior executive to lead their sustainability efforts in 2023.
In addition, 83% of grocers cited waste reduction as their primary sustainability focus, followed by energy utilization (77%) and packaging improvement (66%).

Seventy-three percent of shoppers said they want sustainability related product information on the product and digital channels and 37% said they would be willing to pay a premium of 11% to 17% for sustainable options.

Many retailers have already responded to such interest with 61% of shoppers indicating that their preferred grocer has adopted sustainability practices in the last year and 23% said their preferred grocer does a good job in communicating their sustainability efforts.

In its analysis of January grocery activity, meanwhile, Grocery Doppio reported that total sales reached $73.1 billion, up from $68.4 billion a year earlier. Digital sales accounted for $10.7 billion, a 2.9% increase, yet digital’s share of overall grocery sales declined to 14.7% from 15.2% in January 2022 and 17.1% in November 2022.

Digital baskets, however, averaged four more items in January 2023 versus January 2022, a 39.7% increase, with a four-cent growth in average price per item. Digital baskets had an average price of $102.70, compared to $59.40 for in-store baskets. 

Grocery sales through third parties fell substantially to $1.9 billion in January 2023 from $3.3 billion a year earlier, with third parties’ share of digital grocery sales dropping to 18.1% from 31.3%. Sales through the grocer’s website rose to $8.1 billion from $6.6 billion, accounting for 75.2% of digital purchasing, while 6.7% of sales were through the grocer’s app.

Also on the upswing are grocery pickup sales, with curbside/shopper pick-up generating 57.9% of all digital grocery revenues in January, accounting for $6.2 billion in sales, up from $5.5 billion a year earlier. Delivery’s share of digital grocery orders declined to 42.2% from 46.7%.

The survey was conducted in January with 1,731 U.S. shoppers and 145 grocery executives.

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