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How America Eats: Capturing Growth With Food on the Run

How America Eats: Capturing Growth With Food on the Run

September 2013
Executive Overview

IRI's Times & Trends highlights new developments and critical events across all major CPG categories and channels, providing powerful benchmarking data to help guide your strategic decisions. This report focuses on “on-the-run” eaters, a market that is 66 million strong and shows striking characteristics that pose both opportunity and challenge for CPG marketers.

In Brief

IRI Times & Trends

The battle for share of stomach has reached a fever pitch, and associated new growth opportunities for CPG marketers are not limited to the confines of the retail store.  It is time to rethink the competitive landscape, viewing ALL eating and drinking occasions as an opportunity to serve consumers and, at the same time, drive revenue growth.

Serving today’s consumer will require providing solutions that cater to on-the-go eating behaviors.  These “opportunist eaters,” 66 million strong, are the focus of this report.  Opportunist eaters hail from across demographic groups.  There are some striking differences between these opportunist eaters and others, and these differences pose both opportunity and challenges for CPG marketers. 

Opportunist eaters spent more than $90 billion across IRI’s multi-channel outlet during the past year, essentially flat versus the prior year and on par with industry average.  But, CPG marketers that serve opportunist eaters well stand to reap disproportionate growth in the years to come. To gain insights on the way opportunist eaters shop for, purchase and consume packaged goods and opportunities to maximize growth potential, IRI commissioned a comprehensive survey of more than 3,000 consumers.  The findings of this survey reveal opportunities CPG marketers can tap to achieve differential growth.

Convenience is a huge consideration in the food and beverage selection process of on-the-run eaters. In fact, 39% of consumers that practice this style of eating often grab convenient foods with little thought as to whether those foods are playing the role of a snack or a meal. Even when planning and preparing meals, two-thirds of opportunists look for foods that are quick and easy to prepare, and one-third prefer heat-and-eat or ready-to-eat foods rather than preparing options from scratch.

Opportunist unit sales growth of convenience products is outpacing that of planners, resulting in dollar sales growth across these categories that have been stronger versus industry average.  In 2013 through 2015, a variety of convenience-oriented CPG categories are expected to continue to demonstrate higher-than-average growth among opportunist eaters versus the market as a whole.

See the complete report in the "Convenience Stores: Keep the Core; Appeal to More" pdf.