NielsenIQ: Consumers bring on 'the great grocery edit' of 2022

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: Getty Images /  Tom Werner
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Tom Werner

Related tags: Nielsen, Grocery shopping

Weighing unpredictable inflationary prices, a prioritization of wellbeing along with an enduring pandemic, consumers are self-editing their grocery baskets and carts by asking themselves one fundamental question -- "Do I need this?" -- when making their purchasing decisions, according to NielsenIQ consumer research.

"'Do I need this?' is no longer just a question to gut check an impulsive purchase. Instead, it is now a critically important decision filter for all things tied to the broadening state of consumer wellbeing,"​ said Genevieve Aronson, global head of thought leadership, Nielsen IQ, in a recent report​. 

"Just as people are quitting their jobs in the great resignation to find something better- the 'great grocery edit' in 2022 will see consumers intentionally edit their baskets, re-write their grocery lists, and quit brands altogether for options that better meet the necessities of health, wellbeing, value (of both price and purpose) and availability."

Factoring in the inflationary environment, the question will also reveal new trading up and down behavior of consumers across certain CPG categories, noted Aronson.

Now more than ever, health and wellness is a huge factor that consumers take into consideration when grocery shopping, said Aronson.

Among the most important needs, consumers are looking for products that promote self-care and improve physical or emotional wellbeing ('preservation needs'), and 'aspirational needs, which involve a focus on preventative care and taking proactive actions to maintain specific health goals or avoid illness/ailments over the long-term.

"Consumers will not hesitate to dump the brands that aren’t delivering on the needs that are now deemed a personal priority,"​ said Aronson.

'More personal, dire, and needed'

Far from a new trend in the health and wellness space, the movement towards mindful consumption has become more urgent for many consumers, explained Aronson.

"It feels more personal, dire, and needed,"​ she said. 

Taking the upcoming holiday season as an example, Aronson explained there is a strong undercurrent of health, wellbeing, and sustainability factoring into consumers' purchases for themselves and others.

"Shoppers are expressing a rising appetite for shopping local, experiential gifts that empower or educate, gifting charitable donations, or opting for sustainable attributes and altruistic promotions,"​ said Aronson.

Be in tune to new shoppers needs 

To capitalize on the emerging decisiveness of consumers, brands must cater to consumers' evolving hierarchy of wellbeing needs, noted Aronson.

"Necessity will be the strongest consumer driving force of 2022. Pending priorities and need states, consumers will show their willingness to pay and willingness to search for products that address real-life needs and challenges,"​ she said. 

"In the year ahead, the success of manufacturers and retailers will directly correspond to how well they show up for consumers in their time of 'need.'"

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