Consumers are willing to spend more money and time to make healthy meals, according to a new report from Acosta. Forty-four per cent of U.S. shoppers said they eat healthy foods despite the higher price, up from 39% who reported as such a year before. The figure rises to 51% for those with children, Acosta said.

On a typical shopping trip, survey participants said 22% of items in the grocery cart are organic. For those with children, the figure jumps to 28%.

“Today’s shopper is more educated and hyper-aware of the connection between eating well and overall health for themselves and their families,” said Colin Stewart, senior vice-president of Acosta. “As consumers shift their focus to cooking healthy meals at home, it’s important that brands and retailers appeal to these behaviors and continue to educate them about origins of food and healthier options.”

Nearly 6 in 10 consumers (and 68% of those with children) said they are cooking more frequently at home. Eighty-six per cent of U.S. shoppers said they ate dinner at home four or more days in the past week, and 37% said they ate dinner at home all seven days.

However, consumers are stocking their pantries less. Seventy per cent of shoppers said they stock up on sale items, down from 80% in 2012. Shoppers also are showing less brand loyalty. Two-thirds said they always buy the same brands, down from 72% in 2013.

“Less pantry stocking dovetails with other prevalent shopping behaviors, such as center store leakage,” Acosta noted in the report.

Meanwhile, the male shopper influence is growing. Dad shoppers spend more money on monthly grocery trips ($383.70) compared to total U.S. shoppers ($320.70) and male shoppers without children ($277.30). Nearly a fourth of dad shoppers are making more routine shopping trips as compared to last year, and nearly half of dad shoppers said they are comfortable using digital or on-line tools to help with grocery shopping. The trend is linked with generational differences and economic factors, Acosta said.

“Men suffered the most job losses during the recession, and data indicated the number of stay-at-home dads continues to grow,” Acosta said. “Couple that with millennials (and their modern perspective on hands-on parenting) now starting families of their own, and the result is dramatic shifts in the number, frequency and attitude of male grocery shoppers.”