Sustainable, local fish top U.S. retail trends

Buying sustainable seafood and locally produced food are among the top trends that the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) found in its new “FMI Grocery Shopper Trends 2010” survey.

Thirty-seven percent of shoppers now say they buy sustainable seafood on a regular basis, an increase of 7 percent from last year, according to the survey of 1,000 consumers, which defined sustainable seafood as “where the fish is caught and replenished.”

Buying locally produced food is also a growing trend among shoppers. Fifty-three percent say their store offers locally grown foods, including meats and produce. The main reasons shoppers say they buy local products are freshness (77 percent), their desire to support the local economy (73 percent), and that they like knowing the source of products (46 percent).

However, consumers don’t necessarily just want to buy American foods. Although 91 percent are “somewhat or very” comfortable with buying foods grown in the United States, confidence in imported foods increased to 49 percent in 2010, up from 42 percent last year.

Eighty-six percent of shoppers are also “somewhat or very confident” in the safety of the food they buy at their supermarkets.

Other important trends in the “Grocery Shopper Trends 2010” report include more home-prepared meals and attention to price.

Shoppers’ interest in ready-to-eat meals they can take home hit its highest point in four years at 55 percent. Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents also said they are eating out less frequently than last year and 52 percent said they spend less money when eating out by using restaurant coupons, eating at less-expensive restaurants, and ordering lower-priced entrées.

Meanwhile, 75 percent of shoppers said they choose their primary grocery store based on price, while 73 percent choose stores that have high-quality fruits and vegetables and 67 percent choose “items on sale or money-saving specials.”

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