With more time at home during the pandemic, more Americans have adjusted to preparing and planning meals at home. This shift is allowing grocery chains to become more integral into consumers’ meal plans with hot and prepared items, according to speakers at the Retail Foodservice Innovation Summit, presented by Store Brands’ sister publication Progressive Grocer.
The trend is also fueling grocers to put more emphasis on its own brand, exclusive prepared foods or ready-to-heat meals.
The virtual event’s first presentation featured Rick Stein, VP of Fresh Food at FMI - The Food Industry Association and Steve Markenson, research director at FMI, who discussed changes to the retail foodservice space caused by the pandemic.
“The pandemic really prompted many meals to move from restaurant settings to at home meal occasions,” said Markenson. “As of June of 2021, Americans were preparing an average of 71% of their total meals at home. At the height of the pandemic that number was 87%; 59% say that they will see little or no change in their meal preparation in the future. They’ve learned new tricks and habits as a result of the pandemic.”
Of the 4.6 weekly dinners prepared at home, 55% are hybrid, meaning some of the meal is made from scratch while some items are semi or fully prepared from the store.