ARLINGTON, VA. – FMI – The Food Industry Association has released its “2020 Power of Foodservice at Retail” report, detailing how harshly the pandemic has impacted the traditionally highly profitable category. 

“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 Rick Stein, vice president of fresh for FMI. 

The report notes that dollars spent for at-home food and away-from-home food quickly flipped with the onset of COVID-19. Food at-home dollars moved from 50% in February to 68% in April, and food-away-from-home dollars went from 52% in February to 32% in April. Retail foodservice dollars were down even further at 17% of dollars spent March through July. 

The new report from FMI outlines ways retailers can move toward facing the pandemic-created challenge including: 

·         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.   

The “2020 Power of Foodservice at Retail” report was sponsored by Hussmann Corp. The findings demonstrate the resiliency of grocery foodservice and the opportunity to re-invigorate a competitive spirit in foodservice, according to FMI.