What you need to know

While supermarkets continue to dominate retail sales of food and drink, a slight loss of share can be seen from 2005-15. Supermarkets aren’t going the way of dinosaurs; however consumer interest in low price, convenience, and fresh offerings, as well as changing eating habits, drive movement to a wider range of food/drink shopping channels. Supercenters (including mass merchandisers with robust food/drink offerings) and warehouse clubs are picking up the supermarket slack. Key Millennial and Hispanic shopper segments also drive change, exhibiting a greater inclination to seek items and experiences they want, even if it means compromising on price and convenience.


This report examines consumer attitudes and behaviors toward shopping for food and drink and toward retail locations that sell food and drink for off-premise consumption in the US market.

Estimates of sales of food and drink for off-premise consumption from the USDA’s Economic Research Service are used to examine changes in sales through different retail channels over time. These estimates may differ from estimates published elsewhere due to different sources, definitions, and methodology.

The following retail channels are covered in this report:

  • Supermarkets – Stores offering a full line of groceries, meats, and produce with at least $2 million in annual sales.

  • Warehouse clubs and supercenters – Large stores that primarily retail a general line of grocery products and merchandise lines, including mass merchandisers with robust food/drink offerings. Warehouse clubs offer customers a wide selection of merchandise at discounted prices in exchange for customer membership fees. Supercenters are large discount stores that also sell groceries, with no membership requirements for customers.

  • Specialty food stores/other grocery – Specialty food stores are stores that sell a small range of specific foods such as bakeries or meat markets (ie, cheese shops). Smaller grocery stores sell a range of groceries, meats, and produce.

  • Convenience stores – Small stores that stock a range of everyday items such as groceries, toiletries, and newspapers.

  • Other retailers – Includes stores that sell a large variety of merchandise, with less than 50% of their sales from food. Includes mass merchandisers (defined by the USDA as a large store selling primarily hardware, clothing, electronics, and sporting goods but also selling a small selection of groceries).

  • Nonstore retailers – Includes home-delivered and mail-order food (defined by the USDA as food items that are directly purchased from a food manufacturer or seller such as fresh fruits and vegetables or meat products and delivered directly to a home or other address) and farmers, processors, wholesalers, etc – defined by the USDA as food that is purchased directly from one of these sources and does not flow through the traditional retail markets.

This report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s The Food and Drink Shopping Experience – US, February 2013 report. While the report will present a unique view of the marketplace, the report will pull from the analysis presented in Mintel’s Food/Drink reports and Shopping reports including:

  • Online Shopping – US, June 2015

  • Mass Merchandisers – US, March 2015

  • The Drug Store Shopper – US, February 2015

  • The Budget Shopper – US, December 2014

  • Retailer Loyalty Programs – US, July 2014

  • Mobile Advertising and Shopping – US, July 2014

  • Warehouse Clubs – US, June 2014

  • Perimeter of the Store – US, June 2014

  • Convenience Stores – US, March 2014

  • Grocery Retailing – US, February 2014

Value figures throughout this report are at retail selling prices (rsp) excluding sales tax unless otherwise stated.

Back to top