US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

Grocery Sales: 2021 Outlook

Historically strong year for retail grocery sales in 2020 were driven by a variety of factors, including:

  • the shift home – meals were cooked at home rather than in school cafeterias and restaurants near workplaces
  • stock-up efforts to minimize shopping trips – especially early on in the pandemic period
  • restaurants closed or dine-in capacity was limited – consumers were not going out with friends or eating on the go

However, that won’t last. More people are being vaccinated, pandemic restrictions are being lifted or will be in the coming month, more people are returning to workplaces, and schools are opening for in-person learning.

As a result, many major grocers are expecting declines in same-store sales in 2021, most foreseeing declines around 3-5%.

So what will grocery retail trends include in 2021?

  • as consumer again look for convenience and meals-on-the-go, store-made prepared meals and prepacked meal kits will continue to be important drivers of sales
  • promotional pricing –consumers who were less price sensitive in 2020 (buying whatever was available) will be expecting it this year
  • an emphasis on private labels and store brands – part of the emphasis on value pricing
  • increased automation as curb-side pickup operations become more established
  • ongoing improvements in online ordering to boost impulse purchases and encourage consumers to add items related to those already in their cart
  • an emphasis on wellbeing as stores offer health information and meal planning
  • return to sustainability measures, including reusable grocery bags and reduced use of single-use plastics in areas such as produce bags, and produce and carryout packaging

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including Frozen Food Packaging, Pouches,Global Foodservice,Foodservice Single-Use Products,Global Foodservice Single-Use Products, Retail Bags, Commercial Refrigeration Equipment, and Global E-Commerce Packaging. Related reports from our sister publisher, Packaged Facts, include Food Carryout & Delivery, Food Carryout & Delivery: Special COVID-19 Consumer Insights, Consumer & Corporate Food Gifting in the US, US Food Market Outlook 2020: Home Cooking, Grocery Shopping & Food Trends in the Age of Coronavirus, Global Food E-Commerce, and Online Grocery in the US. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Covid-19      Food & Beverage