Arlington, VA; Santa Monica, CA—Fresh foods are in higher demand than ever before, according to a poll taken from the 2014 National Grocers Association–SupermarketGuru Consumer Survey Report.

As of 2013, 57.5% of shoppers indicated health was their main reason for buying fresh foods. The perimeter food areas of the supermarket (including produce, meat and seafood) are the main pull for a large portion of shoppers with 73.6% stating those departments are what they come for. One-third of shoppers said they spent anywhere between 76 and 90% of their food dollars on fresh foods in 2013. Produce is a key driver for 68% of consumers, up from previous years, whereas meat and dairy declined.

Also, more people are going to their primary food store for produce than ever before, with 85.9% of shoppers spending more than half of their money reserved for fresh foods at the supermarket. According to the poll, 38.2% of consumers are buying fresh foods because they like the way it tastes rather than for health purposes alone.

With recession woes lessening, consumer emphasis on lower prices is down from 51% in 2009 to 34.3%. That doesn’t mean price is a non-issue for grocery goers; an area in 2014 rated as very important by 79.6% of shoppers is accurate shelf tags. Convenience isn’t out in 2014 either with 53% of consumers rating store location as very important. Other trends that customers are looking for when choosing their primary food stores include friendly employees at 59.2%, personal safety outside the store at 64.5% and fast checkout at 48.9%.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2014