The Food Industry Association has released its 2020 Power of Foodservice at Retail analysis, which demonstrates that although sales for this traditionally profitable area have been negatively affected by COVID-19, grocers are poised to more effectively compete for food-away-from-home dollars.
“Food retail business owners navigated state and local challenges to operations and adapted by redistributing labor across the store, and foodservice employees embarked on their new roles maintaining sanitation and supporting shelf-stocking during times of unprecedented consumer demand for essentials,” said FMI VP of Fresh Rick Stein.
Practically overnight, share of dollars spent at-home and away-from-home for food flipped, with food-at-home dollars moving from 50 percent in February to 68 percent in April, and food-away-from-home dollars moving from 52 percent in February to 32 percent in April. Still, retail foodservice sales were down 17 percent March through July. Fewer trips were made to the grocery store due to shelter-at home mandates. Food, beverage and household product online purchases were up more than half, which contributed to foodservice loss for those businesses without the ability to offer this digital convenience as an option.
In facing these challenges, the 2020 Power of Foodservice at Retail sets out a path forward for the food industry with three key strategies:
- Reinvest in top-of-mind awareness – Building a reputation for foodservice starts with stronger and more direct communication with shoppers.
- Emphasize convenient, healthy meals – The analysis offers an opportunity to bridge consumers’ desire to cook and support meal prep fatigue and their health goals. Two-thirds of the meals consumers make at home are prepared from scratch with semi- or fully-prepared items to complement the meal.
- Highlight technology solutions – Seventy percent of shoppers say the ability to order the food in advance, whether via app, online or phone, would positively influence their decision to order from retail foodservice instead of restaurants or cooking.
FMI’s 2020 Power of Foodservice at Retail is made possible by Hussmann Corp. The findings demonstrate the resiliency of grocery foodservice and the opportunity to re-invigorate a competitive spirit in foodservice.
As the food industry association, FMI works with and on behalf of the entire industry to advance a safer, healthier and more efficient consumer food supply chain. FMI brings together a wide range of members across the value chain — from retailers that sell to consumers, to producers that supply food and other products, as well as the wide variety of companies providing critical services — to amplify the collective work of the industry.