Americans spend an average of US$95 per week on groceries, according to new research from Mintel.

This amount increases to $105 for the 35 to 54 age group due to the likelihood of having children in the household. Larger households usually spend more per week, but they spend less per person on groceries, as proven by the fact that one-person households spend an average of $63 for groceries, while those in households with four or more spend an average of $30 or less per person.

Men are twice as likely as women to say they share the responsibility of grocery shopping (11% versus 6%). Females are significantly more likely than their male counterparts to be the primary grocery shopper. Just 16% of female respondents do not undertake the majority of the grocery shopping in their households, compared with more than half of male respondents, according to Mintel’s research.

Store brands grow in popularity

The top 20 best-selling categories of store brand foods accounted for an estimated $15.7bn in sales in 2003, which is an increase of 21.8% in the past five years. At the same time, the total sales in these categories grew 15.6%. The store brand total, therefore, has grown at a faster pace than the overall total. Mintel predicts that total retail sales of store brand foods will increase 14% by 2008. Meat/poultry/fish showed the greatest increase (17.2%). This was spurred in part by consumers’ growing interest in high-protein diets, but more by successful store brand entries into this growing market.

Americans have strong positive feelings about store brands. Nearly two-thirds believe that with store brands they pay less but get the same quality as the national brands.

On average, 41% of the average shopper’s grocery basket consists of store brand items. Mintel found that the older the person, the less likely they are to buy store brand products. For those 65+, the mean amount of their weekly grocery basket comprising store brand products is 35% in comparison to the youngest respondent at 48%.

Opinions and attitudes about store brand products vary by specific demographic group, but in general, 70% of respondents wish that store brand products were available in as wide a selection as branded products. In addition, more than half say they plan to buy more store brand products in the future.

A robust store brand program may enhance that retailer’s image among consumers and may lead to heightened store loyalty and sales. For example, Trader Joe’s highly evolved store brand program brings shoppers into the store specifically to buy a Trader Joe’s product, rather than a branded equivalent. In an era of continued consolidation in the retail supermarket industry, it is necessary to find ways to win customer loyalty. This is especially important in the 2000s, when mass merchandisers, dollar stores, drug stores, and a myriad of other channels are competing for the customer’s food dollar, Mintel said.