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COVID-19 IMPACT IDDBA


Angela Bozo Director of Education IDDBA


COVID-19: IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES


At the time of this writing, there are no real conclusions to be drawn about the long-term shifts in consumers or foodservice. Will consumer preferences return? Will online adoption continue? Questions abound. IDDBA is collecting data during this time with the goal of eventually highlighting these shifts and quantifying consumer behavior and that effect on sales. What follows is a snapshot, one to reference for comparative analysis for at least the next couple of years, as well as a short list of factors to consider that affected grocery shopping during this period. (To view the weekly COVID-19 Impact reports, visit: https://www.iddba.org/research/industry- research/covid-19-impact.)


COVID-19 began to impact grocery stores in early March, with stock-up trips peaking the week ending March 22. Total store sales have been trending positive since then, with different categories contributing to the overall strong volume and sales. Dairy stands out as having a very strong performance, driven by butter and eggs. The deli has been a mixed bag, with prepared foods trending down (e.g., closure of service cases and lack of offerings because reallocation of labor), but strong sales in deli meat and deli cheese. Many retailers who committed to pre-slicing and packing to maintain sales dollars (and possibly shopper interest) experienced a good return on their investment, maintaining strong March number. Cheese sold well in this pre-packaged deli format as well as in the dairy aisle. Bakery was in line with the deli in


that shifts away from service departments, as well as closure of self-service bakery fixturing, created opportunity in the bakery aisle, which kept overall bakery department sales strong. Functional breads —rolls, buns, and sandwich—grew as in-home meal consumption increased.


Numerous influences are skewing the sales data. First, in-home consumption is at a mandated high. In addition to state orders (which by April 10, 2020, all but one state had formally in place), the closure of restaurants and universities exponentially increased the number of at-home eating occasions. Just last year, we were writing about the Millennial generation and how infrequently they ate at home compared to generations before them, as well as the shift in food dollars from grocery to restaurants. In-home consumption will continue as consumers figure out their personal comfort levels following the expiration of state orders.


Second, incredible safety measures were enacted to protect employees and offer security for consumers. These include:


• Limiting hours (both store and specific service departments).


• Purchase limits.


• Wayfinding changes throughout the store (e.g., one-way aisles and specific places to stand in front of open service counters).


continued on pg. CA


WHAT’S IN STORE | 2020


© 2020 International Dairy Deli Bakery Association


Industry Landscape


BZ

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