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FMI report: Shoppers continue to tighten their belts

New York City -- Rising fuel costs, higher commodity prices and increasing international market demand for food are pushing food inflation higher and higher, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report released Tuesday.

As a result of the economic pressures, the number of trips shoppers make to buy groceries plunged to 1.69 trips per week, its lowest level in the history of Trends. People shopping for groceries only once a week rose from 29% to 34% and those shopping once every other week increased eight points to 20%.

In other findings:

  • Regardless of whether a shopper is making a stock-up trip to the store or a quick trip, 46% of shoppers pay for groceries with a debit card, followed by 30% who use credit. Only 15% of transactions are paid by cash and even fewer by check.
  • Shoppers spend an average of $97.30 per week on groceries in 2011, more than three-quarters of it at their primary store.
  • The majority of shoppers drive less than five miles to their primary store, but 60% do not shop for groceries at the store closest or most convenient to their home. Two thirds of respondents (67%) say the No. 1 reason they bypass the closest store was to seek lower prices. Another important factor in selecting a primary store was great selection and variety cited by 23% of shoppers.
  • Nine in 10 shoppers visit a full-service supermarket at least once a month. Nearly 60% visit a supercenter once a month, followed by warehouse club stores (27%).