ARLINGTON, VA. — Price is the most important factor to consumers in choosing where to buy groceries, and consumers have become quite savvy at finding deals at the supermarket, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s “2010 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends” report.

Other important factors in choosing a store include high quality fruits and vegetables and items on sale or money-saving specials, according to the F.M.I.

“Consumers are carefully planning their grocery shopping trip, and the importance of price as a factor in deciding the store destination is undeniable,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer of the F.M.I.

Increasingly, consumers are saving money by purchasing only what they need and seeking the best value for their money. They also are making shopping lists, researching sales, collecting coupons and comparing prices across store formats in an effort to save money. In addition, they are participating in frequent shopper programs, using in-store coupons, buying from specials, stocking up on bargains and purchasing private label brands.

The average number of weekly trips to the grocery store is trending upward, and nearly 6 in 10 shoppers said they are making two or more grocery shopping trips a week with consumers spending an average of $99.90 weekly on groceries, up 1.5% from last year. At the same time, total grocery dollars spent at the primary store declined and primary store trips decreased, indicating that if a store doesn’t have a product at the price they want, consumers are willing to go elsewhere to find the price in their budget.

“Shoppers have gained a renewed appreciation for saving money through home-cooked meals, comparison shopping, store selection, brand preference, coupons and more,” Ms. Sarasin said. “They choose to save money by eating at home but they also believe, overwhelmingly, that the food they eat at home is healthier than eating away from home. It is clear supermarkets are positioned to help their customers save money and help them make healthier choices when it comes to food.”