FMI released its US Grocery Shopper Trends 2017 on Monday, revealing shopper demand for dimensions of transparency along the supply chain challenged by an evolving marketplace. 

The report says US grocery shoppers want more than just information. Shoppers desire transparency that engages them, offering assurances of food safety, the pursuit of health and wellness, the appetite for discovery and a closer connection to food.

"Consumers can handle the truth, and the information they do wan to know, they want delivered in a clear, forthright, trustworthy and easy-to-find way that conveys some sense of vulnerability and openness," said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. "This is a crucial area because I think honest clarity is the currency of trust in the digital age."

While less traditional retailers enjoy more grocery traffic and shopper loyalty, FMI Trends data note that eight percent of shoppers still claim to have “no primary store.” Limited assortment (25%), natural (17%), convenience (11%), ethnic (11%) and online only (11%) food stores are increasingly frequented by shoppers. This is particularly significant because this year the research suggests how comfortable Millennials have suddenly become with using online shopping for their grocery needs, although they still order only a limited breadth of food products online.

Sarasin insisted that the unpredictable state of the marketplace demands a strategy to help transform a retailer from “just a store” to an ally. According to the Trends findings, overall shopper ratings of how well stores are meeting their needs favor those retail channels that lead in transparency, including natural and organic, online-only, club, fresh-focused, and midmarket  traditional grocery stores. Conversely, retail channels trailing in transparency include discount, convenience, supercenter, limited, dollar, drug and value-focused.  Consumers continue to view their primary store also as a primary ally in their wellness pursuits (45%).