ARLINGTON, VA. — Ahead of the holiday season, FMI – The Food Industry Association released its U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends Tracker: Holidays, a comprehensive report on the impact of COVID-19 on US grocery shopper perceptions and behaviors heading into the busy holiday season.  

The report found that despite concerns surrounding the availability and cost of favorite holiday foods due to lingering post-pandemic supply chain and inflation issues, most shoppers plan to celebrate the holidays much the same as they did before the pandemic, while shopping early and observing social distancing measures when getting together with friends and family.   

“Consumers remain aware of pandemic impacts on the supply chain, but most are confident that with some planning they will find their favorite foods at reasonable prices and share traditional menu with loved ones this holiday season,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer of FMI. “Both grocers and consumers have demonstrated tremendous resilience over the last year, and shoppers are excited about a cautious return to normalcy for their holiday gatherings this year.”   

The report revealed that while 58% of shoppers expressed concern about being able to purchase groceries they need for holiday meals, that sentiment hasn’t changed since the summer. To mitigate potential supply chain issues, 18% of shoppers indicate they will plan further in advance when shopping for Thanksgiving meals this year than usual.  

Despite concerns about inflation, average household grocery spending has held steady at about $144 per week — down from the $161 per week witnessed at the height of the pandemic last year.  

While most shoppers expect to celebrate the holidays the same as before the pandemic, roughly half of shoppers said COVID-19 will have an impact on upcoming holiday celebrations, with some planning to hold smaller gatherings, watch events like sports and parades from home, and enforce social distancing rules.