WATCH: Navigating the new normal: Grocery shopping trends to watch

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags coronavirus Immunity

From growing interest in immune health to a sharp rise in online grocery shopping, how is COVID-19 impacting consumer behavior? Here are a few things that caught our eye in recent reports from The Hartman Group for FMI, the Food Industry Association*; Rabobank**; Euromonitor***; and IRI’s latest webinar: ‘Charting the Course for Continued Center Store Growth.’****
  • According to Euromonitor, “Consumers’ mindsets will switch to reduced consumption of non-essential items and anti-ostentation, a focus on self and family and on preventative and immune health​.”
  • As for sustainability, says Euromonitor, “COVID-19 has both refocused and reclassified what sustainability looks like ... That's not to say efforts towards cutting energy usage and tackling sea plastic have gone away, more importantly they must now co-exist with the primacy of hygiene and serving consumers during economic hardship.”
  • Meanwhile,“Countertop commerce, i.e. the development of gadgets to create beverages at home, will become more pronounced with increased ‘hometainment’ and also due to a desire to take control of the preparation process.”
  • According to IRI, searches on online shopping platforms Instacart, Walmart, and Amazon related to immunity, vitamin C, vitamin D, and magnesium, increased significantly in March 2020 vs February 2020.
  • According to IRI, sales of food and beverages making ‘good source of vitamin C’ claims rose significantly in March and April, while sales of products making vitamin D claims were also up exponentially.
  • According to Hartman Group/FMI The Food Industry Association, younger adults are most likely to report that their eating habits have become healthier under the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Consumers are getting bored of their cooking, said Hartman Group/FMI The Food Industry Association: “Between late March and mid-April, the desire for ‘something interesting to eat’ increased 1.5 times.”
  • While on-shelf availability has improved, shoppers remain worried about getting ill from other shoppers, store employees, and surfaces, say The Hartman Group/FMI The Food Industry Association.
  • With brick-and-mortar stores, many households have reassigned shopping to a single shopper who makes faster trips, to fewer stores, for a narrower range of items, though often with a larger overall basket size... But for some the opposite is true: they may take longer trips to more stores or spend less per trip if they struggle to find what they need at a single location.”
  • According to Rabobank​ foodservice sales may not return to pre-Covid-19 levels until mid- to late 2022, with “a new set of winners and losers based on their relative positioning (winners: limited-service, chains, off-premise; losers: full-service, independent, eat-in), financial strength (greater consolidation, M&A), and operational flexibility (automation, ghost kitchens, digital).”
  • “Assuming no Covid-19 relapse in the fall,” says Rabobank, “We expect US foodservice sales declines to moderate from the peak 50% drop in late Mar/Apr, to a 16% to 18% decline over the next 180 days, and a 12% to 14% decline for the next 12 months.”

* The 2020 Grocery Shopping Trends​ study was conducted by The Hartman Group, using consumer survey data from 2,000 US adults in February and four waves of surveys in March and April, each with 1,000 US adults.

** Rabobank report, June 2020: US Foodservice in the Post-Covid-19 World: Moderating Growth, Changing Landscape

***​Euromonitor white paper, June 2020: How Will Consumer Markets Evolve After Coronavirus?​ 

****IRI webinar June 16: Charting the Course fo Continued Center Store Growth  

Navigating the new normal: NPD and the evolving consumer landscape

Unlocking Innovation first webinar

The Hartman Group will be sharing more insights into how consumers are responding to the pandemic at the first webinar in FoodNavigator-USA's global Unlocking Innovation webinar series​ ​on June 29, which also features experts from Mattson, General Mills and ADM.

IRI, in turn, will be sharing more insights in the second webinar in the series, Preventive health, wellness and nutrition (self-care in focus) on July 23.

Signing up gives you access to all of the webinars (when you get the confirmation email, select those you are interested in and add them to your calendar.) Register HERE​​.

The US-focused events are:

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