Foodservice Sales Suffer as More Than Half of Shoppers Are Eating at Home More Often

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Foodservice Sales Suffer as More Than Half of Shoppers Are Eating at Home More Often

09/15/2020

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The drastic change in consumer spending that occurred when the coronavirus arrived in the United States negatively impacted the trajectory of retail food and beverage and foodservice sales.

According to COVID-19: Reinventing How America Eats, a new report from Acosta, a majority of shoppers report that they are eating at home far more often since the pandemic began.

More than half of those surveyed (55 percent) said they are eating at home more often since the pandemic began, with 44 percent eating breakfast at home every day vs. 33 percent pre-COVID; 31 percent of shoppers are eating lunch at home every day vs. 18 percent pre-COVID; and 33 percent of shoppers are eating dinner at home every day vs. 21 percent pre-COVID.

Diners anticipate that they will eat out less than before or not at all after the pandemic is over:

  • 47 percent plan to eat breakfast out less often or not at all;
  • 33 percent plan to eat lunch out less often or not at all; and
  • 29 percent plan to eat dinner out less often or not at all.

Their top reasons include concerns about the aftereffects of COVID-19 and to save money.

"With more than half of consumers eating at home more often and some with less money to spend, there are a myriad of challenges and opportunities for retailers and manufacturers to navigate," said Colin Stewart, executive vice president, business intelligence at Acosta. "The implications of staying at home and reduced commutes are far reaching and jolted channel trends.

"Foodservice sales surpassed retail food & beverage sales in 2015 and were expected to continue to gain share, until the pandemic hit. Now, even the best-case scenario for foodservice will end the year in the red," Stewart added. "Other trends, like e-commerce, have been accelerated, with online food, beverage and alcohol spend expected to increase 30 percent this year."

Despite consumers' fears of COVID-19 and their desire to save money by eating home, a quarter of diners said they are sick of having to cook more, while 35 percent discovered a new passion for cooking during the pandemic.

The biggest meal planning challenges shoppers face include grocery shopping due to the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in public (45 percent); planning different meals every day (40 percent); lacking a food/ingredient needed to make a meal (38 percent); and improving cooking skills (17 percent).

According to Acosta, in this new normal, manufacturers have opportunities to reach diners. Examples include understanding their needs and providing solutions and inspiration; utilizing technology to drive toward labor-saving solutions; leveraging the power of partnerships by extending foodservice brands and chef-forward ideas into retail; and focusing on the efficacy of packaging by food type to deliver a dining-in quality food experience.

Access to COVID-19: Reinventing How America Eats is available here.

Based in Jacksonville, Acosta provides a range of outsourced sales, marketing and retail merchandising services throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.