Baking & Snack - June 2020 - 23

"THE FOOD FIGHT BETWEEN FOOD RETAILERS AND RESTAURANTS
IS GOING TO TURN INTO A WAR OF DOMINANCE AND SURVIVAL."
Todd Hale, Todd Hale LLC
think about the fresh departments and the whole notion
of a self-service section where you can reach in and grab
a donut or a bagel, what's going to happen to that business
going forward? Are we going to allow that to return?"
While shoppers are coming back, the perimeter hasn't
rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, especially with sweet
goods and desserts because special occasions like birthdays just include immediate families or drive-by celebrations from relatives and friends.
"What is also interesting on the in-store bakery front
in general is that the indulgent items - cakes, cookies
and pastries - are all trending down," said Angela Bozo,
education director for the International Dairy-DeliBakery Association. "Yes, this is partly because of a lack
of open self-service cases, but it is also at least partly indicative of what people are doing for themselves, which
is baking at home. I am sure that time will be a factor
post-COVID, but there are preferences being changed
and possibly family traditions being formed, so this
could go in many directions."
Ms. Bozo added that so much of IDDBA's 2020 trend
reporting centered on customer preference, brand loyalty and the rise of specific diets, which were put on the
backburner as consumers adjusted to inconsistent stocks
on shelves as well as pressure to reduce shopping trips.
"With the rise of abundance in the fresh departments,
there were consumer groups shopping much more frequently - somewhat mitigating meal planning," she explained. "We all love to quote that the millennial shopper
doesn't know what they are going to eat for dinner until
one hour before consumption and then 'stock-up' shops.
This is a trend worth watching as shopping is such a
force of habit, and now all shopping has been somewhat
disrupted. I don't believe that we know yet how that will
shake out. I imagine that consumers are going to find
ways to hybridize what they did pre-COVID and what
they found worked for them during COVID."
Ms. Lyons Wyatt also pointed out that 2020 was set to
be another year for foodservice to outpace retail.
"With restaurant closures and the looming 'great lockdown recession,' that will not occur this year," she said.
In the "food fight" between at-home and away-fromhome eating, as Mr. Hale put it, the latter had been the clear
victor in recent years. For commercial bakers and anyone
supplying the food industry, the new "Game of Homes" has
seriously chosen new winners and losers. While this war
has serious consequences, it's far from over.

"The food fight between food retailers and restaurants
is going to turn into a war of dominance and survival,"
Mr. Hale predicted. "For those of you supplying the
foodservice arena, I'm sure many of you are concerned
about what's going to happen."
And, Ms. Lyons Wyatt said, Americans are discovering their "inner chef." IRI's weekly COVID-19 survey for the week of April 12 found 69% of consumers
are preparing more meals now, while 37% are creating more meals from scratch vs. before the pandemic.
Of those, 49% stated they will continue making meals
from scratch.
Moreover, 31% of consumers are eating more treats
this week vs. the prior week to reduce stress or bring
some joy into their day.
"Based on what I have seen posted on social media,
other things consumers have learned include not to
take for granted the luxury of eating out of the home,"
Ms. Lyons Wyatt observed. "Consumers have missed the
opportunity to meet friends for a meal or happy hour.
Some have missed the convenience of eating out versus
cooking at home."
And, for perhaps for the first time in years, the nuclear family connected in person. Families who not long
ago called each other "snowflakes" and "OK Boomers"
are now breaking bread together. Or people who never
spent any time with their families after years on the
go, now are. They're reliving what dinner used to be all
about or experiencing it for the first time.
"We're rediscovering the family," said Steffen Weck,
president, Food Business Consulting. "We've had the
best conversations with our 11- and 14-year-olds around
the dinner table. We actually put the phones down and
now talk about the coronavirus and how the schools
may change for them."
It may be something that Gen Z will someday tell
their kids: how they were once forced to sit around and
have dinner with their family 30 years ago. Maybe that's
not all that bad, especially in moderation.
"As hard as it is, it's actually how we were raised,"
Ms. Cochran said. "My family rarely ate out. In many
ways, we're just rewinding the clock back to years ago,
and it's not that far back in time."
So, is it the best of times or the worst of times? Only
time will tell, not Dickens. One thing is for sure. Many
more myths will emerge as the result of this pandemic,
and some will be busted.

*

www.bakingbusiness.com / June 2020 Baking & Snack 23


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Baking & Snack - June 2020

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