Gourmet food brands and their competitors are making their mark on the industry, with many of the most expensive items coming from premium brands, including New York City-based Whole Foods Market, which recently topped a new benchmark for the highest-quality grocery store.
“There is a lot of demand for quality food, especially with the economy recovering and the demand for affordable, healthy food coming back,” says Wendy Storch, CEO of the nonprofit Whole Foods Association.
She attributes the rise of premium brands to the fact that consumers have less disposable income than before.
“The way food is served, the way it’s packaged, it’s all about being mindful about what is quality and what is not quality,” Storz says.
The rise of a handful of premium food brands has been especially noticeable among millennials.
“In the past, if you had a grocery store, you had to be a shopper who would go out and pay $5 to buy a loaf of bread, and you had $5 for a bag of chips, it was very difficult,” Storb says.
“Now, if they’re offering a loaf or bag of bread for $10, that’s pretty good.”
Storch says that premium food is a big part of what makes her organization unique: “Our goal is to keep it relevant and keep it fresh and to keep offering fresh food, fresh ingredients and fresh ingredients in an affordable and delicious way.”
According to the Association, grocery stores with the highest average daily spend for a $5 loaf of sourdough bread are Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe Pantry.
A $10 bag of macaroni and cheese costs $2.99, and a $10 box of organic milk is $3.49.
The average grocery store shopper spends $1,078 per year on food.
“We’re seeing that trend of premium groceries,” Stolch says.
The average grocery shopper in the U.S. spends $9.70 per year per year for food, according to a study conducted by the University of Maryland’s Center for Food Quality.
That’s a 15% increase from just three years ago.
“There’s definitely a real opportunity for a lot more people to be spending money,” Storg says.