There’s a revolutionary change in food retail, and it has to do with the “new shopper” of today.

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) President Leslie Sarasin, in accepting the Connecticut Food Association’s Outstanding Industry Leader Award at the group’s Person of the Year banquet on Oct. 20, described that new shopper.

Sarasin said in the previous shopping model, the mother made the decisions when it came to grocery shopping. Now, with women working one or two jobs, men are taking a more active role in the task.

The other part of the new shopping paradigm is the thirst for knowledge about food items.

“We are into the information game, and shoppers have a thirst for information. Customers want clear answers to many questions,” said Sarasin.

Sarasin noted that shoppers are exploring many multi-channel opportunities, visiting, on average, three to seven stores per month. And, traditionally, shoppers have focused on price and convenience. Today, health and wellness, food safety, workers’ wages, animal welfare and sustainability are top of mind. Additionally, with consolidations so prevalent in the industry, today’s shoppers have more faith in smaller companies and the small, local farmer.

Toward the goal of transparency, Sarasin said FMI is working with the Grocery Manufacturers Association to develop a Smart label for food products as well as a “family meals” emphasis for retailers and national suppliers.

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