With their laser-like focus on healthy eating, sophisticated tastes, and ample financial resources, the 42 million food shoppers with a household income of $150,000 or more exercise an outsize influence on the food industry. The sheer volume of spending on food at home by affluent households—which is in excess of $100 billion—makes them an essential consumer segment for food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, and grocers.
VIDEO An Influential Subset
Affluent food shoppers are perfectly in sync with the future of grocery retail. Since they are twice as likely as their less affluent counterparts to use online grocery delivery services or to have ordered groceries/food products online, they are vitally important to the fast-growing online component of the grocery industry.
The food culture and buying habits of affluent food shoppers also cause them to have a disproportionate impact on the bottom line of brick-and-mortar supermarkets and grocery stores. Affluent food shoppers are more prone than other food shoppers to shy away from conventional shelf-stable packaged foods and are more likely to spend their money and time on buying and experiencing higher-margin store perimeter products and services.
For example, affluent food shoppers have a much higher likelihood of buying fresh department products such as organic produce and value-added products such as hot rotisserie chicken or further prepared fresh seafood. As a result, affluent food shoppers provide a disproportionate boost to grocery store profits today and will be even more important in the future as grocers continue to shrink the center store and invest in an expanded and more attractive perimeter.
This Packaged Facts report offers an in-depth look into the values driving affluent food shoppers and highlights the differences between the in-store choices of affluent and other food shoppers. The report also provides marketers and retailers with critical insights into the steps they can take to make their products and store environments more appealing to this indispensable consumer segment.
Scope of the Report
The report focuses on the food shopping and buying patterns of affluent food shoppers, who are defined as those with a household income of $150,000 or more. Affluent food shoppers are further segmented into mass affluent food shoppers, with a household income of $150,000-$249,999,and highly affluent food shoppers, with an income of $250,000 or more. The report includes an overview of topline opportunities in the affluent food shopper segment, an in-depth assessment of the food purchasing patterns of affluent food shoppers, profiles of their demographic characteristics and attitudes toward food, and an analysis of the channel choices, in-store behavior, and brand preferences of affluent food shoppers.
Consumer data in this report come from two primary sources. The first source is the Packaged Facts National Online Consumer Survey conducted in April 2019. This survey reflects a panel of 2,000 U.S.adults (age 18+) that is balanced to the national population on the primary demographic measures of gender, age bracket, race/ethnicity, geographic region,marital status, presence or absence of children in the household and household income. When the report uses Packaged Facts National Online Consumer Survey data, food shoppers are defined as individuals who personally shop for groceries.
The other primary source of consumer data is the Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS) for Fall 2018, which was fielded between October 2017 and November 2018. On an ongoing basis, Simmons conducts booklet-based surveys of a large and random sample of consumers(approximately 25,000 for each 12-month survey compilation) who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. population. When the report uses Simmons NCS data, food shoppers are defined as those who shopped at any supermarket or food store in the past four weeks. Simmons NCS product and brand usage tables and figures are based on products and brands used most by individuals or households.
U.S. Government data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau and the Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS). When the report uses CE data,mass affluent households are defined as those with an income ranging from$150,000 to $199,999 and highly affluent households are those with a pre-tax income of $200,000 or more. The report is also based on data from a wide range of industry sources, including company websites and industry publications and blogs.
Large Households and Traditional Families Anchor Affluent Food Shopper Segment
The household profile of affluent food shoppers differs dramatically from that of non-affluent food shoppers. Seven in ten (68%) affluent food shoppers live in a household with three or more people, compared to 35% of non-affluent food shoppers. Affluent food shoppers are much more likely to live in a married-couple household with children under 18 (34% vs. 19%). Gen-X married couples with children are nearly three times as common in the affluent food shopper segment (19% vs. 7%). Only 7% of affluent food shopper households consist of a single person without children under 18, compared to 31% of non-affluent households.
Asian Food Shoppers Have a Significant Impact
Asian food shoppers account for just 6% of all food shoppers but represent 12% of affluent food shoppers. Asians account for 24% of the population of affluent food shoppers who shop at Whole Foods, 23% of those shopping at Costco, and 19% of affluent food shoppers who shop at Trader Joe’s.
Natural Channel Attracts Affluent Food Shoppers
Affluent food shoppers are drawn to the food culture and shopping experience offered by stores in the natural channel. They are much more likely than their non-affluent counterparts to shop at either Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s (47% vs. 27%) or at independent natural food stores, community co-ops, farmers markets or specialty/gourmet outlets (28% vs. 18%).
Mass Affluent and Highly Affluent Food Shoppers Show Differences
Mass affluent shoppers are more likely than their highly affluent counterparts to use coupons; redeem them at a supermarket, grocery, or convenience store; or use coupons to save money rather than try new products. Compared to highly affluent food shoppers, mass affluent food shoppers are more likely to pick store brands for a wide range of center store products.