Since Covid-19 hit the US in late February, our lives have been impacted in many ways. Researchers have set out to understand the impact the virus has had on the Food and Beverage industries. How has consumer demand and buying habits changed over the past couple of months? Researchers have weighed in, and they all seem to agree: Consumers are stocking their pantries and eating at home. Their research indicates that may be the trend for months to come.
What does the research show?
In a recent study conducted by Suzy and A New Hope Network, prior to Covid-19, about 50% of all food was consumed via food service. Since March, there has been a shift of nearly all of that to in-home consumption through grocery retail. The research farther stated that 42% of their respondents have reported that they are approaching meal planning differently, 50% reporting that they make their decisions based on longevity – what will last long in the freezer or pantry. Within the past two weeks, 50% of respondents reported they ate more frozen foods than they had prior to Covid-19, and 46% reported they ate more boxed or canned goods in the same time frame.
As small quarantines began and borders closed more broadly, Nielsen research echoed these sentiments. Their studies indicated a rise in ordering take out and in food delivery, but most notably in eating and cooking at home. Their studies further indicated a spike in grocery store visits, a larger in-store spend, and a stockpiling of pantry items as the virus took hold of our Nation. According to research released by Nielsen, April 17, 2020, there has been a large percentage of growth particularly in shelf-stable and frozen fruits and vegetables.
In the Suzy/New Hope Network Study, 41% of consumers indicated they expect to spend more on food services, grocery visits, and online ordering in the next 60 days. Neilsen research indicated consumers think Covid-19 will last 4-6 months.
How has the shift in consumer buying habits impacted your business?
With the change in buying habits likely to continue over the next several months, are there new opportunities for you to meet consumer demand? What challenges are is your business facing as we work through this crisis? How can food and beverage manufacturers do to meet the changing market? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
For more information on the impacts of Covid19, and the research conducted by Suzy, visit the Suzy Consumer Insights Hub.
See the Nielsen report here.