Survey: More consumers opt out of holiday celebrations amid grocery inflation

Inflation and rising grocery prices are impacting shoppers’ holiday meal plans, according to a new report from 84.51°. The impact is greater for lower-income households and older adults.

Rachel French, Contributing writer

November 23, 2023

2 Min Read

At a Glance

  • Consumers are planning to prepare and enjoy Thanksgiving meals less often in 2023 compared to 2022 because of inflation.
  • Lower-income households and older adults are less likely to participate in holiday activities.
  • Consumers are still seeking new, innovative food and beverage products, but price is still a big concern.

According to 84.51°’s October Real Time Insights Survey, nearly half (47%) of consumers are planning to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal at home in 2023, compared to 51% in 2022. Similarly, only 22% are planning to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at a friend or family member’s house in 2023, down from 34% in 2022.

The survey found lower-income households and older adults are significantly less likely to take part in certain holiday activities.

Among households that make less than $50,000 annually, about one-quarter (22%) said they don’t plan to have a Thanksgiving meal in 2023, compared to 10% that make between $50,000 and $100,000, and 5% which make between $100,000 and $200,000.

Similarly, 19% of households who make less than $50,000 annually said they don’t plan to celebrate the holidays at all, compared to 7% that make between $50,000 and $100,000, and 6% which make between $100,000 and $200,000.

Declines in holiday celebration plans is the latest of several effects of staggering inflation on grocery shopping habits. Spiking grocery prices have led to consumers shop less frequently and opt for more private label brands. Shoppers, too, have started to shop for groceries online less.

Yet, while some consumers may be dialing down their holiday celebration plans, 84.51°’s survey also identified a handful of drivers fueling consumer grocery spending.

In fact, the findings from 84.51° noted consumers are seeking new, innovative food and beverage products—the result of recovering supply chains fueling an uptick in new product development.

Top of mind for consumers ages 18 to 44 years is “functional benefits” such as vitamins and minerals, with 38% of consumers in this age group citing this as a driver for their grocery purchases. A similar number are seeking products with clean ingredients (36%) and high protein (36%).

Among consumers 45 years and older, the top driver for food purchases is clean ingredients, with 43% citing this reason. More than a third surveyed in this age group are seeking out high-protein products (38%), as well as products that support digestive health (37%).

Price is still a big concern for shoppers, however, even when seeking new products. The report found more than three-quarters (77%) of shoppers said they’re extremely concerned about price when trying new products. Plus, 70% of shoppers said they’re more willing to try a new product if the price is reduced, and 68% are more willing to try a new product if they have a coupon.

Shoppers are most eager for new products in the shelf-stable grocery, fresh bakery and frozen food categories, the survey found.

About the Author(s)

Rachel French

Contributing writer

Rachel French joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products Insider, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. French left Informa Markets in 2019, but continues to freelance for both FBI and NPI.

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