Sliced bread, which had been steadily losing market share to artisan products, has been a hot item as consumers shift to eating more at home while also decreasing the number of trips they take to the grocery store due to social distancing practices. Frozen pizzas and other packaged foods have also been difficult for retailers to keep in stock as two-thirds of American consumers report stockpiling staples.
Let’s look at what they’re currently buying and what these shopping patterns might mean for the future.
In a webinar by SNAC International, IRI’s Sally Lyons Wyatt said that the snack industry has seen significant growth due to the coronavirus pandemic and that the current situation will likely impact future snack trends.
In an article about the webinar, Baking Business reported that dollar sales of core snack categories grew 38% during the week of March 8-15. “Snacking will continue to see increased sales through COVID-19 and into the impending recession period since it is an expandable consumption food,” Lyons Wyatt said. “Consumer snacking for those employed may actually increase with a reduction of restaurants and kids at home for the rest of the school year in some areas.”
At the same time, with more people shopping online, impulse purchases will decrease. Lyons Wyatt recommends snack companies use targeted media and develop an online strategy to reach consumers at home. She also suggests continuing the effort to balance price with quality and health. Processors that do both of these things will be well-positioned to capitalize now and for years to come.
“Give us everything you got” — that’s the message that a bakery in Michigan heard from its grocery store customers a few weeks ago, and it’s an apt description of what bakeries of all sizes are currently experiencing.
John Paterakis Jr., of H&S Bakery, Inc., told Food Business News that retail sales have been soaring — so much so that delivery drivers are now making multiple runs per day — and that he expects this trend to continue. “I think we will continue to see people panicking and hoarding whatever they can to freeze in addition to [eating] fresh product,” he said. “I think that will continue. I don’t see a slide in the supermarkets.”
For the week ending March 15, frozen pizza sales were up 117.2% compared to last year, according to data from IRI and BCG. Frozen pizza was a big driver of growth in the overall frozen food category, which saw sales increase 78.8%.
As with snacks and bread, frozen foods are expected to continue to be in high demand, especially as states and municipalities continue to issue new “shelter in place” orders or expand the ones already issued.