Deliveries Propel the Food and Beverage Industry

BY Rachel Cagle
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The COVID-​19 pandemic is having a profound impact on Americans' grocery shopping and cooking habits, according to a March 23 survey of more than 3,000 consumers by meal planning service eMeals. The food and beverage industry was hit hard, with shoppers unable to find 40% of the grocery items on their shopping list as the gravity of the COVID-​19 outbreak sent them flocking to grocery stores to stock up on food.

Respondents also reported a 55% increase in weekly shopping spend, cooking dinner at home six nights a week, and surging online grocery use that has caused fulfillment delays because of the high demand.

"Shopping and cooking habits have clearly been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Short supplies at grocery stores, restaurant closings, and the need to reduce the number of shopping trips to limit exposure are changing behavior, including prompting more consumers to use online grocery services for curbside pickup or home delivery," said eMeals CEO Forrest Collier. "With 97% of respondents to our survey saying that they plan to continue using online grocery in the future despite order delays or cancellations, it's likely that one of the lasting effects of this pandemic will be to accelerate the widespread adoption of online grocery."

Online Grocery Use

  • 28% trying to use online grocery encountered delays or cancellations, stemming from an industry-​wide explosion in online grocery use as consumers attempt to limit shopping trips during the coronavirus crisis.
  • 51% of respondents who placed online orders had to wait two or more days for delivery rather than typical same-​day or next-​day fulfillment, reflecting insufficient staffing to meet the sudden surge in demand.
  • 97% of those who placed online orders planned to continue using online grocery in the future despite experiencing delayed delivery times and limited availability of products.

Fast Food and Beverage Industry Trends

There have also been dinner habit changes effecting the food and beverage industry. 51% of respondents picked up takeout meals from local restaurants and 15% had restaurant meals delivered by a service like DoorDash or Grubhub on nights when they did not cook themselves, reflecting continuing dependence on restaurant-​prepared food even when many consumers have more time to cook as they are confined to their homes.

With grocery delivery being in such high demand that its delivery times can be unreliable, restaurants can promote the ease and reliability of their online ordering. Last year, according to AudienceSCAN, Online Restaurant Food Orderers (Past 30 Days) took action after seeing TV commercials, receiving direct mail ads, seeing ads on social media and seeing sponsored search results.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. In addition, AdMall contains industry profiles on quick-​service, fast-​casual and full-​service restaurants, as well as lead lists at the local level. Media companies, sales reps and agencies can access this data with a subscription to AdMall from SalesFuel.