Catalina Provides Update on Decade’s Hottest CPG Categories 2.5 Years into Pandemic

CBD Products, Plant-Based Products and Premium Pet Food Continue to Fare Well

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – July 20, 2022 – In early 2020, shopper intelligence leader Catalina released a study projecting that CBD products, plant-based products, and premium pet food would rank among the decade’s hottest-selling CPG categories. Within weeks of its report being published, COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. Now, nearly 2.5 years later, Catalina has taken another deep dive into its Shopper Intelligence Platform to see how those three categories and others have fared during the first quarter of the decade.

According to industry reports, the explosive growth of topical CBD products--which are less regulated—will continue, with the likeliest ingestible product growth being in the beverage category. While Catalina’s data shows that CBD shoppers are buying and spending significantly more on CBD products at grocery stores than in 2020, this is starting to shift due to their increased availability online and at dispensaries across the country.

Today’s CBD shoppers also buy non-CBD products that are more focused on their appearance than they did two years ago. These include lip care, specialty facial soaps, and grooming devices. They also are pampering themselves, being six times more likely to purchase bath additives than the average shopper.

Plant-based shoppers have developed a discerning beverage palate, favoring oat milk over alternatives such as almond, coconut or pea milk. In fact, plant-based milk is now the leading growth engine for the entire category, according to the Plant-Based Foods Association. These shoppers are also buying more plant-based proteins, including meat and egg substitutes, than the average consumer as product variety expands. However, many plant-based product fans are either flexitarian or members of households that enjoy animal-based products based on their shopping carts that often include cheese and organic frozen dinner entrees that contain meat.

With the number of pet parents (or households with pets) significantly growing during the pandemic, shoppers are shifting to larger package sizes either to accommodate more furry housemates or for greater value during inflationary times. As the offerings in the category have expanded, refrigerated/frozen dog food sales have grown. In looking at their shopping carts, buying more cleaning supplies continues to go hand-in-hand with pet ownership. Those who buy premium pet products are also more likely to buy easy-to-make snacks for themselves.

One of the biggest shifts since 2020 has been trading out traditional alcoholic beverages for pre-mixed cocktails and low- or non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits. This trend comes at the expense of wine, beer, spirits, and hard seltzers as shoppers gravitate toward moderation. The data shows that adult beverage shoppers – whether they’re sipping pre-mixed cocktails or mocktails – enjoy entertaining and are twice as likely to buy products that make it easy to serve a crowd, including organic cheeses, dried sausages and frozen prepared foods.

Spitless, smokeless tobacco is the only category showing growth over 2020. This shift occurs as the FDAon July 5, 2022, postponed for further review whether JUUL can market its electronic smoking device products and has proposed banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. In addition to buying accessories, tobacco shoppers are more likely to purchase oral hygiene-related products and air fresheners. They’re also twice as likely to dye their hair and wear make-up, in addition to being fans of chili dogs and outdoor barbecues.


  • As mask mandates lifted, so did the spread of colds and the flu, as did sales of over-the-counter remedies to treat them.
  • More shoppers are back to wearing cosmetics and shaving as they return to regular group social activities or to the office – at least a few days a week.
  • Male birth control purchases declined.
  • Disinfecting one’s surroundings has become less of a priority than during the height of the pandemic.
  • Less time at home means less interest in baking from scratch.

“We regularly take these deep dives into shopping data to help our retailer and CPG customers better understand what makes their shoppers tick, how their purchase behavior is evolving, and what products they are buying across other categories. In fact, our platform contains over 1,700 audiences allowing us to help formulate precise and targeted marketing messages that measurably drive sales,” said Sean Murphy, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at Catalina.

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About Catalina
Catalina is a leader in shopper intelligence and highly targeted in-store, TV, radio, podcast and digital media that personalizes the shopper journey. Powered by the world's richest real-time shopper database, Catalina helps retailers, CPG brands and agencies optimize every stage of media planning, execution and measurement to deliver $6.1 billion in consumer value annually. Catalina has no higher priority than ensuring the privacy and security of the data entrusted to the company and maintaining consumer trust. Catalina has operations in the United States, Costa Rica, Europe and Japan. To learn more, visit or @Catalina on Twitter.