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FMI: Grocers can win with foodservice

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ARLINGTON, VA – Although their foodservice sales have suffered because of the  COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from FMI- The Food Industry Association finds that grocers are poised to more effectively compete for food-away-from-home dollars.

FMI“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,” FMI vice president of fresh Rick Stein said.

The COVID-19 outbreak caused the share of food dollars spent at-home and away-from-home to flip nearly overnight, with food-at-home dollars rising from 50% in February to 68% in April, while food-away-from-home dollars moved from 52% in February to 32% in April, according to FMI’s analysis. Retail foodservice sales were down 17% March through July, as consumers made fewer trips to the grocery store due to shelter-at home mandates. Food, beverage and household product online purchases were up more than half, which contributed to foodservice loss for those businesses that were unable to offer this digital convenience as an option.

In facing these challenges, FMI’s 2020 Power of Foodservice at Retail analysis sets out a path forward for the food industry with three key strategies:

  • 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.

FMI’s 2020 Power of Foodservice at Retail is made possible by Hussmann Corp. The findings demonstrate the resiliency of grocery foodservice and the opportunity to re-invigorate a competitive spirit in foodservice.


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