The Earnest files: US shoppers adjust to financial pressures

Our analysis of exclusive credit and debit card transaction data from Earnest Analytics reveals that many US consumers adjusted their food spending to adapt to the challenging financial situation they found themselves in throughout 2023. In foodservice, this adjustment resulted in reduced visits and spending when ordering at restaurants and a preference for more affordable options. In grocery, discounters and bulk food retailers gained share from traditional supermarkets and big box stores. Meanwhile, online foodservice sales continued to thrive, demonstrating strong demand due to convenience and other lifestyle factors and the reality that consumers can find more affordable options online through deals and loyalty programs.

What does 2024 have in store for US foodservice and retail? Although the macroeconomic landscape is improving with lower inflation and rising consumer confidence, we do not anticipate a total reversal in demand just yet. Rather, we are cautiously optimistic about improved demand and increased spending at restaurants and retail.