With inflation continuing to squeeze consumers, “treasure hunt grocery shopping” is on the rise. AlixPartners’ Consumer Products practice developed foundational analysis and research that has been leveraged by The Wall Street Journal and Axios to further understand this trend. Most recently, Angela Zutavern talked with NBC’s TODAY Show to discuss why this consumer behavior is here to stay. 

Grocery prices have skyrocketed 22% since 2020. As a way of combatting this, consumers are increasingly adding more stores to their shopping routine where they know they can reliably find the best deals. “One thing we know about consumer behavior is they’re not going to go out of their way unless it’s worth it,” Angela said.

AlixPartners' analysis shows that traditional stores, niche outlets, and e-commerce all play a role in today’s grocery shopping experience, with consumers often buying fewer items over more trips to stretch their dollar. 

“Retailers get that consumers want choices, so they’re looking very carefully at what products they put on promotion,” Angela said. 

In addition to using online resources, shoppers are returning to tried and true ways to save: store circulars often placed by the entrance, weekly meal planning, and targeted shopping lists. What’s clearly out of style? Paying full price.

AlixPartners found, for instance, that shoppers are making more trips to the store as they try to manage the impact of higher prices. Overall, grocery shoppers are making 8% more trips than they did last year, according to our research, and buying fewer items at each stop.  

Stores, meanwhile, are putting a greater focus on their own private labels or store brands, such as Costco’s Kirkland brand or Whole Foods’ 365. These products are often less expensive than the mass-market equivalent. Sales of store brands were up 15% for the 52 weeks ended March 23 over the same time in 2022, according to AlixPartners. 

We encourage you to watch the entire segment here.