Co-op reports confirm the rise of the top-up shopper

Stacking shelves in the Co-op

The concept of the ‘little and often’ modern convenience shopper has been highlighted in The Co-op’s Convenience Report 2015. The report says more consumers are crossing off the idea of the shopping list and pre-planned meals in favour of spontaneity.

This, its second Convenience Retailing report, has been titled Mission Impulsive, highlighting how many shoppers now decide what to eat on the day rather than planning days or weeks in advance.

The report, which analyses food shopping behaviours in 2015 to those of the past, also shows how modern consumers are favouring mid-week top up shops over a big weekly or monthly shop.

Among the key findings in the report, 16% of consumers surveyed said they never use a shopping list and 60% only write down the key products they require. The Co-op says there has been a “significant” shift away from meal planning while the rise of spontaneous cooking is fuelling top up shops. Furthermore, mid-week shopping is seeing growth whereas Friday and Saturday purchases have seen a decline, while younger demographics are leading the move to convenience shopping – which is excellent news for independents.

The shift towards impulse meal components means that consumers are less reliant on weekly meal planning and are more favourable towards spontaneous dining, and making meal decisions on the day. This habit has fuelled the need for mid-week shopping and explains why consumers are choosing top up shops at convenience retailers throughout the week, rather than a big supermarket shop.

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive, Retail said: “The idea of planning and eating three square meals a day are a thing of the past. Today many people who live very busy lives decide what to eat just a few hours in advance and will visit their local store looking for inspiration and easy to prepare food.

“Our report, the second in our series, highlights how social and lifestyle developments have changed consumers’ attitudes towards weekly meal planning and how a shift in purchase behaviours has led to the development of products in response to this consumer trend.”