March 20: Today’s Snapshot of Stories Impacting the Food Industry
Dear Mushroom growers, shippers, importers, marketers and allied colleagues:
Below is today’s round-up of news stories and other items outlining how COVID-19 is impacting the food industry. As a reminder, the goal of sharing this regular cadence of news insights is to keep the industry better informed as we continuously update our strategies. I welcome any feedback and please feel free throughout the day to send me any stories to consider for the next digest.
- Food Brands on Social: We’re Listening
Earlier this week, we noted food organizations altering their social messages to address at-home cooking. Food groups are now addressing C-19 directly. Applegate is asking its followers what content it wants at this time: https://twitter.com/Applegate/status/1240696867245023232. Conclusion: Brands and organizations should consider how to be of service to others in their current communications.
- Supermarket Stocks Stay Afloat, But is Demand Short-Lived?
Food Business News reports that despite the stock market freefall, supermarket stocks are maintaining. A March 16 report from Barclays notes, however, that demand could be short-lived once stockpiling abates: In the next three months, an estimated “$61 billion to $118 billion in sales could move to food at home, [as opposed to] food away from home, which would represent an increase of 32% to 62% to food at home. Suppliers will increase production, but when the situation normalizes, food deflation could occur.” https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/15648-supermarket-stock-prices-stay-afloat-amid-coronavirus-outbreak Conclusion: While at-home cooking is the message of the day and likely weeks, there could be dramatic downstream effects related to pricing, oversupplies and other impacts.
- NYTimes: Food, a Basic Pleasure, Is Suddenly Fraught
NYTimes has an extensive feature on how C-19 is forcing consumers to rethink one of the most elemental parts of their daily lives: food. For many, it’s simply learning how to make their own meals: “All at once, it seems, many Americans are scrambling to learn how to cook. A week ago, Google searches for cooking videos hit Thanksgiving-level highs, and traffic to cooking websites is skyrocketing.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/dining/food-shortage-coronavirus.html Conclusion: When marketing to consumers, consider sharing food messaging based on simple, starter recipes for these newer cooks.
- Meat Demand Surges – Meat Supply to Soon Stabilize
North American Meat Institute reports meat sales increased 8% last week: https://www.agri-pulse.com/ext/resources/pdfs/Meat-Sales-Are-Accelerating-Quickly-at-Onset-of-Coronavirus-Retail-Surge-002.pdf. Reuters notes consumer demand for meat has exceeded supply, leaving meat cases empty, but Tyson expects equilibrium within the next two weeks. “Food manufacturers say overall meat supplies are ample to feed the millions of Americans hunkering down in their homes,” as total US supplies were already 2%-3% higher than they were a year ago prior to the C-19 outbreak. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-tyson-foods/us-grocery-meat-supply-to-improve-soon-after-virus-fueled-demand-surge-tyson-foods-idUSKBN2163VN Conclusion: Early indications are that meat will continue to be a core staple in the pivot to at-home cooking, further validating The Blend as an ideal way to make your meat purchases even better.
- Expect These Foods to Become Less Available Soon
While our food supply in general is sturdy, CNBC says expect shortages of some types of food: “Specialty items like imported pastas and wines from Italy, cheeses from France or other niche food products from countries overseas or smaller businesses may be impacted,” as well as imported produce. One supply chain analyst “believes many domestic farmers and ranchers, who have been struggling in recent years, could actually see a boost amid the pandemic.” https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/supply-chain-experts-foods-that-could-be-less-available-in-pandemic.html Conclusion: Marketers should be cognizant of ingredients and pairings noted in their helpful food messaging. Is it available nationwide?