Company Updates

Tomorrow’s Cart: Instacart’s 2024 Consumer Trend Forecast

Laurentia Romaniuk

Laurentia Romaniuk

Dec 7, 2023

As we reflect on 2023 and head into the new year when wellness is top of mind for many, I’m sharing Instacart’s most anticipated consumer food and health trends for 2024. Our journey into these insights has been guided by the wealth of data at our disposal with access to one of the world’s largest grocery catalogs that’s continually expanding into diverse categories such as home, beauty, sports, and more. We’re able to glean standout insights regarding people’s purchasing behavior — giving us a clear view of what people are eating, drinking, and shopping, in addition to how that behavior is starting to shift and evolve…

To stay at the forefront of emerging trends and predict what we’ll see a lot of in shopping carts next year — here are my top 5 food and health predictions for 2024 based on Instacart’s purchase data and consumer survey insights from an Instacart survey conducted online by The Harris Poll:

People will put a premium on sleep health. The importance of getting a good night’s rest is not new knowledge, but how many people are actually getting a solid and consistent 8 hours? According to a recent Instacart survey conducted online by The Harris Poll, nearly half of Americans (48%) want to make changes to their sleep habits and quality in the new year. Beyond just intentions, we’re witnessing a growing trend of people investing in their sleep. On Instacart’s platform over the last year, the share of carts containing magnesium supplements increased by 19%, sleep masks (+56%), and sleep and sound machines (+134%) — just a glimpse of the many sleep-related items experiencing a surge. We’re also noticing things like the viral ‘Sleepy Girl Mocktail’ trend, which is a mix of tart cherry juice and powdered magnesium aimed to support a good night of zzz’s. So in the budding widespread quest for a good night’s rest, 2024 is shaping up to be the year where people make significant strides to enhance the quality of their sleep.

It’s also worth mentioning that people are starting to check their caffeine intake, which has an obvious impact on sleep. Our survey found that 33% of Americans who plan to make changes to their sleep habits and quality in the new year to improve their health say they plan to do so by reducing their caffeine intake and/or consuming gentler types of caffeine, such as matcha. This also aligns with our purchase data, as the share of carts with matcha grew by 20% in the last year.

Sleep health

 

Higher protein intake is on the rise. Our survey found that of those who plan to make dietary changes in the new year, 39% want to eat a higher protein diet. Instacart’s purchase data also signals that people are starting to reach for higher protein items and snacks. Fueling up on protein isn’t just a hunger buster; it may come with a host of health benefits. That’s probably why the cottage cheese trend gained significant traction this year — and our data confirms it. Cottage cheese, which is already a significant category on Instacart, grew even larger by showing up in carts 8% more often this year. Similarly, the share of carts containing Greek and Icelandic yogurt grew by 3%, protein drinks grew by 10%, and meat jerky — something that has become an even more popular snack with grass-fed options more widely available — grew by 16%. We’re also seeing snacks like tinned fish grow, known for being high-protein and packed with nutrients like omegas, with canned mackerel (+71%) and sardines (+9%) continuing to climb the ranks. So, don’t be surprised if you see more protein-packed plates around – the growing appetite for ways to sneak in more protein is clearly becoming a delicious and nutritious mainstay.

High protein ideas

 

More people will catch on to the health benefits of mushrooms. From their possible link to immune-boosting properties and cognitive enhancement, mushrooms are emerging as a powerful ally in people’s well-being — and we have the data to support it. Over the last year, we’ve witnessed a mushroom surge, with carts containing fresh Lion’s Mane Mushroom growing by 589%, alongside fresh Hedgehog Mushrooms (+315%), Pink Oyster Mushrooms (+391%), Reishi Mushrooms (+293%), and even mushroom supplements (+42%). To further support this exciting trend, our survey found that 40% of Americans are aware that consuming fresh mushrooms and mushroom supplements, such as Lion’s Mane and Reishi, may support cognitive function, overall brain health, and improve immunity. Moreover, a significant 58% of Americans express their likelihood to consume mushroom supplements and increase their mushroom intake to reap these health benefits. We foresee this growing fascination with fungi becoming a fundamental health practice for many in 2024 and beyond.

Mushroom sales

 

A variety boost in produce choices is on the horizon. With each new year, it’s common for most to express a desire to up their produce intake, but we’re moving past the obvious. We’re preparing to witness a shift where people are not just aiming to eat more produce but are actively embracing a diverse and colorful array of fruits and vegetables. Our survey found that among those who plan to make changes to improve their diet in the new year, 61% plan to do so by increasing their fresh produce intake. On top of that, over the last year we’ve started to see an assortment of more unexpected fruits and veggies experience cart share growth over the last year, including a variety of fruits such as red dragonfruit (+201% growth), yellow passionfruit (+201%), mangosteen (+158%) and Mayan melons (+31%), and veggies such as microgreens (+50%), broccoli sprouts (+32%), purple broccoli (+32%) and purple asparagus (+18%). As we head into the new year, this signals many will take a flavorful and experimental journey towards more diverse produce — infusing their culinary routine with more options to keep things interesting.

Produce

 

It’s all about the moderation movement with alcohol… Even though non-alcoholic alternatives, such as non-alcoholic beer, make up a smaller portion of shopping baskets compared to alcoholic beverages, consumers continue to seek a variety of options when it comes to their cocktails, beers, spirits, and wines. We’ve already been witnessing the popularity of drinks without booze — just this last year on Instacart’s platform we’ve seen the share of carts containing non-alcoholic cocktails grow by a whopping 666%, while non-alcohol spirits grew by 123% and non-alcoholic wines and beers grew by 7% and 5% respectively. Looking a bit beyond the current surge in alternatives to alcohol, we anticipate a broader shift. It’s not just about choosing non-alcoholic beverages; we expect to see people embrace drinking in moderation by restricting alcohol consumption to weekends or 1-2 days a week and adopting habits that minimize the adverse effects of drinking. In the past year, we’ve seen liver support supplements grow by 114% and then things like electrolyte drink powder grew by 19%, signaling that individuals are identifying ways to mitigate the negative impacts of drinking. The prevailing consumer trend isn’t necessarily about completely replacing alcohol — like many believe is happening — but rather about reshaping our relationship with it. 

Drinking in moderation

Cheers to a healthy and happy New Year! 

Adjusted for Growth:

We adjust Instacart growth percentages by the overall growth of total deliveries. Doing so removes the influence of our platform growth so we can focus on the change in consumer behavior.

Survey Method:

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Instacart from November 16-20, 2023, among 2,046 adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval.  For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.7 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].

The information above is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Customers shouldn’t rely on this information to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent medical conditions or to make health-related decisions. Always consult healthcare professionals before making significant dietary changes.

Laurentia Romaniuk

Laurentia Romaniuk

Laurentia Romaniuk is Instacart’s resident Trends Expert. In her current role, she works on Search Experience, where she helps ensure customers can find what they are looking for. Previously, she worked on seasonal merchandising to drive sales of popular and trending categories on Instacart, and she spent seven years managing the company’s grocery catalog, which features over 1 billion products from more than 900 national, regional and local retail brands, including unique brand names. She is fascinated by consumer purchasing behavior and analyzes Instacart’s data in order to forecast the next food and general consumer crazes. With nearly a decade of experience unearthing emerging trends and managing digital asset libraries for Instacart and previously Apple and Restoration Hardware, she works extremely closely with Instacart’s data team and obsesses over understanding what customers want and need in order to help create the best possible online grocery shopping experience.

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