Mecenat Insights – The food is moving online

More students order their groceries online and an unexpectedly large proportion also buy restaurant food with delivery to the door. When we look at the retail trade, it is the grocery giants that dominate in the student group, just as in the general population. These are some of the results from our latest Mecenat Insights on the topic of food and groceries.

When we carry out our surveys, we can in many cases see a clearly deviant behavior in the student group compared with the population at large. This does not apply though when we ask in which stores the students buy their food. ICA, Axfood (which includes Hemköp and Willys) and Coop have a firm grip on the podium. And so it has been since we started doing this survey three years ago. The changes over time are about single decimals.

The nearest store best but large assortment is increasing
We see greater changes when we ask about the reasons why students choose a specific grocery store. In previous surveys, we can see quite clearly that they primarily choose the nearest and then the cheapest store.

This year, those bars have shrunk noticeably. Instead the students state to a greater extent that they are aiming towards stores with the largest assortment and the best fresh ingredients. In addition, long opening hours have become more important, but then from quite low levels.

When it comes to product groups where they prefer to have a student discount, fruit & vegetables are the superior winner, followed by cheese & dairy and then meat & charcuterie. It is worth noting that these product categories are clearly ahead of the organic range.

Online purchases are increasing
Another noticeable change is that more people in the student group have started shopping their groceries online. An increase that seems to be due to increased impact on ordering food online in general, but which has probably received an extra boost from the ongoing pandemic, also in the student group. 28 percent have tried to order their food at home, while 17 percent do it regularly. This is noticeably below the average for the population as a whole, but a clear increase compared with our survey last year.

Students have so far been far down the list of groups that make food purchases online. Many of them live alone or in small households, which reduces many of the benefits of shopping from home. With that knowledge, a fairly large proportion have tested or bought regularly.

More people order restaurant food at home
Despite the fact that it entails an additional cost, there was also an unexpectedly large proportion who answered that they used to order restaurant food with home delivery. 40 percent answered that they use such a service. In next year’s survey, we can get an indication of whether it is the students’ attempts to favor the local restaurants in times of Corona or whether it is a behavior that has settled permanently in the student group.

The survey was conducted in February 2021 and had 1,376 respondents.