What Americans Are Buying (and Not Buying) at the Supermarket in 2016
Business + Economy

What Americans Are Buying (and Not Buying) at the Supermarket in 2016

Andrew Olney

More booze and bottled water, less poultry and popcorn.

That’s what’s in Americans’ supermarket carts this year, according to the latest analysis by Supermarket News, which offers a sort of anthropological take on what is driving consumer behavior. Market research firm IRI collected sales data for 285 product categories sold in supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar store chains.

The biggest trends include the desire for simple ingredients, convenience, authenticity and healthy food. For instance, sales of seltzer water — especially those flavored with natural sugar instead of artificial sweeteners — boosted the bottled water category as health-conscious Americans turn to soda alternatives with fewer calories.

Related: America’s Favorite Supermarkets, Ranked

Busier Americans are pushing up sales at supermarket delis, which offer prepared meals for those who don’t have time to cook at home. That’s helped to bolster sales of refrigerated side dishes, lunches and pasta.

Consumers also are seeking out craft sodas, beers and spirits because they aren’t commercially manufactured and feel purer, according to the report. Millennials, as they entertain at home rather than dine out, are behind the increase in spirit and liquor sales. Vodka topped the list, followed by rum and American whiskey.

But not all alcoholic beverages are enjoying a sales bump. Premixed cocktails and coolers are on the decline this year, reporting the biggest year-over-year drop in unit sales among all 285 categories.

Related: Here’s Why People Want Walmart to Sell Ugly Potatoes

The one item that saw the largest increase in unit sales was flashlights. Perhaps shoppers are stocking up in case there’s an apocalypse after the November presidential election.

Click here to find what Americans are buying, and not buying as much, in 2016.