Food & beverage shopper insights

We surveyed hundreds of food & beverage shoppers about their purchasing habits. Here’s what we learned — and what it means for marketing food & beverage products.
Research by
Christoph Knudsen
Survey participants
Survey conducted
February 2024
Key takeaways

Welcome to our survey report, where we dive into the preferences, habits, and dietary patterns of 389 consumers surveyed in February 2024. We explore key themes like dietary restrictions, favorite cuisines, shopping habits, and the role of social media in influencing food and beverage trends.

This report equips marketers with actionable insights to understand and adapt to the evolving preferences of today’s shoppers.

All shoppers

Diet & restrictions

  • Nearly half (46%) of shoppers say they try to eat balanced meals; 28% say they eat what they want, while 16% try to eat cleanly (minimally processed foods)
  • 10%+ of shoppers are following a Clean Eating, Low Sugar,
    and/or Low Carb diet
  • Low Sugar (12%), Dairy Free (12%), Organic (8%), Whole Foods (8%),
    Gluten Free (7%), Low Carb (6%), and Non-GMO (5%) are top dietary restrictions
  • 62% of shoppers say their interest in food is more Pleasure Based, while the remaining 38% are more Diet Forward

Taste preferences

  • Over half of shoppers list Mexican (65%), Italian (58%), and American (51%) among their favorite types of cuisine 
  • At least 1 in 4 shoppers includes Chinese (39%), Japanese (34%), BBQ (26%), Mediterranean (26%), and/or Thai (23%) cuisine among their favorites
  • Roughly even split between shoppers who prefer Sweet (49%) vs. Salty (51%)
  • 42% prefer Hot foods, 33% a Little Spicy, 25% Mild
  • Tacos, pasta, pizza, salad, rice, apples, chocolate, French fries, roasted chicken, and cheese are among shoppers’ favorite foods overall
  • Over half of shoppers (53%) have at least 10 different condiments currently stocked in their household
  • Garlic, lime, honey, avocado, cinnamon, raspberry, onion, barbecue, cucumber, maple, and paprika are among shoppers’ favorite flavors overall
  • At least 1 in 3 consumers considers ketchup, ranch, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, soy sauce, and salsa among their favorite condiments

Shopping habits

  • Consumers most often shop for groceries at Walmart (19%), Whole Foods (10%), Kroger (8%), Costco (8%), Aldi (8%), Trader Joe’s (8%), and Publix (5%)
  • Consumers are most likely to shop for groceries at a certain retailer because it has the best prices (53%), convenience (49%), good selection (44%), and easy to find all the products they want (43%)
  • 42% shop for groceries multiple times a week, 38% once a week, and 19% less often 
  • Taste/Flavor (84%) is the most important attribute to consumers when making a food purchase, followed by Price/Value (68%) and then Ingredients (59%)

Path to purchase

  • 2 of 3 consumers (66%) discover new food & beverage products for the first time through social media content, more than browsing in-store (62%) or family/friend recommendations (29%)
  • Instagram (84%) is the top social platform where consumers discover new food products through content, followed by TikTok (76%), then Facebook (32%), YouTube (22%), and Pinterest (17%)
  • Half (49%) of consumers need to see 3 different pieces of social media content before purchasing a new food & beverage product for the first time
  • Consumers are most likely to read product reviews (48%) and seek more social media content (43%) before purchasing a new food product, followed by visiting the brand’s website and reading the product description (26%) and asking family/friends for recs (20%)

Conventional supermarket shopper

The Conventional Supermarket shopper tries to eat balanced meals and balances pleasure with dietary concerns.

This shopper enjoys Mexican cuisine, prefers Salty foods (over Sweet) and likes a little spice to their food. They like jalapenos, olives, quinoa, and broccoli and maple, chipotle, buffalo, and sriracha flavors. They like to use hot sauce and steak sauce condiments.

This shopper typically shops once a week and may shop in-store OR online. They shop at their local supermarket because it’s convenient and has a good loyalty program. They care about products that taste good, first and foremost - then cost and convenience.

This shopper is especially NOT review driven. Rather, they are most likely to discover new products through social media content (Instagram and Pinterest) as well as browsing in-store, where they’ll read labels of different products in the store aisles. This shopper needs to see the most content (5+ pieces) and they are most likely to proceed directly to purchase after that.

Content recommendations

Produce lots of content as this is the primary approach this shopper uses to discover new products. Lead with “great taste” attributes and highlight availability / location at your local supermarket. This shopper is likely to make an in-store cost comparison, so be sure to either highlight your value or counter a perception of being expensive.

  • Most likely to be living with their Parents (22%)
  • Try to eat balanced meals (49%)
  • More Pleasure Based (63%)
  • More likely to have No dietary restrictions/preferences (61%)
  • Don’t follow any specific diet (68%)
  • Particularly enjoy Mexican (71%), Italian (63%), and Caribbean (19%) cuisine
  • Prefer Salty (55%) over Sweet
  • Likes their food A little spicy (40%)
  • Likes Broccoli (4.35), Quinoa (3.71), Olives (3.35)
  • Have 7+ condiments (68%) stocked in their household
  • Like Hot Sauce (52%), Ranch (49%), and Steak Sauce (12%)
  • Shop here because it’s Convenient (54%), has the Best prices (54%), and Best loyalty program (15%) 
  • Shop for groceries once a week (44%)
  • More shops In-Store (72%)
  • Values Taste/Flavor (88%), Price/Value (72%), and Convenience/Availability (25%) when choosing a new food product to purchase
  • Discover new food products through Social Media Content (69%) and Browsing In-Store (65%)
  • Reading Labels of Many Different Products (73%) is new product discovery approach when browsing in-store
  • Discovers new food products through social media content on Instagram (85%), TikTok (72%), and Pinterest (22%)
  • Needs to see 5+ pieces of content (20%) before making a purchase
  • Most likely to proceed directly to purchase after discovery (19%) - is LEAST review driven (40%)
  • Sticks to products they know (45%)
  • Promotions are important when trying something new (64%)

Natural grocer shoppers

The Natural Grocer shopper tends to be more diet forward and tries to eat clean as much as possible (minimally processed foods). They take a close look at ingredients and value certifications confirming the quality of their food (Organic, Non-GMO). They care about Food Brands with a Mission to better our lives/planet/society.

In terms of taste preferences, this shopper prefers Hot (over Mild) and Salty (over Sweet) foods, and enjoys Mediterranean, Thai, Indian, French, and Spanish cuisine. They enjoy eating Salad, Falafel, and Sushi and drinking Kombucha, Coconut Water, and Yerba Mate.

This is a frequent shopper (2+ times a week) who prefers shopping in-store. When browsing in-store, this shopper is drawn to attractive packaging and will discover new products by asking store staff. She additionally shops at these stores because they are clean and have a good selection including quality meats and fresh produce

This shopper loves experimenting with new products and is not especially cost conscious. They are investigators, however - they will frequent brand websites and read product descriptions - discovering new products but also comparing them against one another. This shopper additionally discovers products through Google search and food blogs and they will read product reviews and make their comparisons before making a purchase decision.

This shopper references YouTube as well as Instagram (all shoppers) and needs to see 4 pieces of content before making a purchase.

Content recommendations

Produce long form video content that will play on YouTube. Position Creator as an expert as this shopper relies on expert advice (food blogs, store staff). Highlight product ingredients, certifications, and good causes that the brand stands for. This shopper is looking for details and will naturally be making comparisons to similar products, so anticipate and preempt them in content. Tap into the fun of experimenting with something new.

  • Try to eat cleanly / minimally processed foods (30%)
  • Specific diets include clean eating (25%), low sugar (16%), low carb (11%), plant-based (10%), organic only (10%)
  • Restrictions include low sugar / sugar conscious (16%), organic (16%), dairy free (15%), whole foods (12%), gluten free (12%) 
  • Most likely to be Diet Forward (49%)
  • Most enjoy Mediterranean (37%), Thai (30%), Greek (23%), Indian (21%), French (16%), and Spanish (16%) cuisine
  • Prefers Salty (59%) foods over Sweet
  • Prefers Hot (44%) foods over Mild
  • Especially likes Salad (4.70), Sushi (4.36), Tomatoes (4.21), Pomegranate Juice (3.97), Zucchini (3.97), Tuna (3.75), Falafel (3.73), Coconut Water (3.67), Kombucha (3.41)
  • Likes Lime (4.68), Avocado (4.64), Honey (4.58), Raspberry (4.52), Cucumber (4.34), and Balsamic (4.27) flavors
  • Own fewer condiments - 6 or less (34%)
  • Likes Hot Sauce (49%), Soy Sauce (38%), Hummus (36%), Vinaigrettes (18%)
  • Shops here because of Good selection (59%), Fresh produce (59%), Clean (55%), Attractive display layout (25%), Quality meats (21%), Helpful staff (11%)
  • Shops for Groceries twice a week (45%)
  • Purchases In-Store (77%) rather than Online
  • Actively seeks out Brands with a Mission to Better Our Lives/Planet/Society (39%)
  • Values Ingredients (83%), Fits with my diet (31%), and Certifications (18%) such as Non-GMO when choosing a food product to purchase
  • Discovers new food products through Google Search (18%), Brand Websites (18%), and Food Blogs (15%)
  • Visual attraction of packaging (48%) and Asking store staff (17%) are factors when discovering new food products by browsing in-store
  • Uses Instagram (86%) and YouTube (32%) social media platforms to discover new food products
  • Need to see 4 pieces of content (22%) before making a purchase
  • Read product reviews (53%), Visit brand website and read product description (29%), and Visit different brand websites to learn more about comparable products (13%) before making a purchase
  • Often willing to experiment and try new food products (46%)
  • Willing to pay full price (28%)

Mass merchandiser shoppers

This shopper tends to be pleasure based, has no dietary restrictions, and eats what they want.

This shopper likes Sweet (over Salty) and Mild (over Spicy) foods. They enjoy American, Korean, Chinese, and Cajun cuisine. They like to eat Roasted Chicken, Hamburgers, Steak, Bacon, Eggs, Ramen, Potato Chips, and Frozen Fruit. They like Garlic, Barbecue, and Ranch flavors. They tend to use a lot of condiments, including BBQ Sauce, Mayo, and Ranch. They are most likely to be interested in Hydration drinks.

They like to shop here because it has the best prices as well as being a convenient one-stop shop where it’s easy to find all the products they want. Good value is especially important to these shoppers, followed by taste/flavor and then convenience. Shops infrequently (~every 2 weeks) and may shop Online.

This shopper primarily discovers new products through social media content across multiple platforms (TikTok, Instagram, Facebook), as well as browsing in-store (large selection), family/friend recommendations, and online reviews. Need to see 3 pieces of content before making a purchase.

Content recommendations

Cast a wide net with content across multiple platforms, particularly TikTok. Position the Creator as a friend / use a friendly tone. Make sure to have plenty of reviews and highlight your product’s strong value.

  • Most likely to live with a Partner/Spouse (79%) and a Child Aged 1-2 (21%)
  • Eat what they want (36%)
  • Don’t follow any specific diet (73%) except perhaps Low sugar (12%)
  • Most likely to have No dietary restrictions/preferences (64%), but if anything, follow
    Low sugar / sugar conscious (12%) 
  • Pleasure based (70%)
  • Enjoy American (60%), Chinese (45%), Korean (26%), and Cajun (18%) cuisine
  • Prefer Sweet (60%) foods over Salty
  • Prefer Fruit (71%) over Vegetables
  • Prefer Mild (30%) over Spicy
  • Likes Tacos (4.82), Pasta (4.78), Pizza (4.77), Rice (4.69), Roasted Chicken (4.66), Chocolate (4.63), French Fries (4.62), Apples (4.61), Potato Chips (4.56), Steak (4.48), Lemonade (4.45), Eggs (4.44), Hamburgers (4.39)
  • Likes Garlic (4.84), Barbecue (4.47), Onion (4.39), Ranch (4.31), Paprika (4.24),
    Cilantro (4.18) flavors
  • Likes BBQ Sauce (54%), Ranch (53%), Mayonnaise (42%) condiments
  • Most likely to have 7 or more condiments (73%) stocked in their household
  • Shops here because it’s Close to where they live (58%), Best prices (58%),
    Convenient (53%), and a One-stop shop for all of their products (39%)
  • Shops for groceries infrequently - once every 2 weeks or less often (21%)
  • Most likely to shop Online (32%) at least half the time
  • Values Taste/Flavor (86%), Price/Value (81%), Convenience/Availability (25%) when choosing a new food product to purchase
  • Discovers new food products through Social media content (71%), Browsing in-store (65%), Family/friend recommendations (35%), TV Commercials (17%)
  • Stumbling upon new products when roaming the aisles (67%) and Large selection of products (33%) are drivers for new product discovery when browsing in-store
  • Discovers new food products through social media content on TikTok (83%),
    Instagram (83%), and Facebook (43%)
  • Needs to see 3 pieces of content (77%) before making a purchase
  • Read product reviews (54%), Look for more social media content featuring the product (48%), Ask family/friends for recommendations (25%) as next steps before making a purchase
  • Stick to products they know (46%)