Consumer mindsets are rapidly changing amidst safety and food security concerns due to the COVID-19 crisis. Over the past several weeks, sales have rapidly increased in frozen and center store departments as consumers began pantry stocking for longevity. While fresh departments have seen an increase in sales, they have not seen the dramatic growth spikes of these other departments. With approximately one-third of all American households facing job loss or reduced pay, consumers are searching for easily accessible and affordable meal options. Many consumers are trading down to other departments or reassessing what they purchase. However, previous downturns have resulted in rapid fresh growth.
Retailers achieved this success post-downturn by remaining tuned in to consumer concerns such as fresh product affordability and leveraging their Private Brands to hold prices and introduce easy meal solutions. This led to nearly
a decade of strong growth as fresh departments became the innovation and strategic center of the store. As consumers adjust to their new normal during this crisis, retailers must again address evolving consumer behaviors and use their Private Brands to maintain relevance in fresh. The changes consumers are adopting include an increase in cooking at home, shifting
to online shopping, the need to have more transparency to food safety security and supply concerns.
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