What’s Next for Retail Foodservice
The pandemic sparked abundant innovation in retail foodservice as retailers rose to meet heightened demand for both traditional groceries and high-quality prepared foods.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many restaurants were forced to shutter, grocers across the country forged partnerships with area restaurants to make their food available for grab-and-go.
To meet the soaring demand for digital ordering and delivery of deli and prepared foods items (along with groceries), retailers continue to seek partnerships that will get the job done better and faster. For retail foodservice to remain competitive and relevant, online ordering and speedy delivery are musts.
If the quality is there, grocers have an opportunity to “capture the catering ring” as never before, asserts IRI’s Parker. “One of the things we saw with Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Super Bowl [since the pandemic] was people purchasing more deli meals but for smaller gatherings. You also had people who had never made Thanksgiving before get excited about deli catering helping with the holiday meal.”
While global flavors, high-protein fare and comfort-food classics remain attractive menu items for retail foodservice operations today, as consumers look to shed their “quarantine 15” or other pounds gained while sheltering and working at home, healthful options focused on fruits and vegetables as well as plant-based alternatives also are likely to resonate.