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Seven Lessons Foodservice Can Learn from a Pandemic 

As states begin to reopen, restaurants are adapting to a new normal to welcome diners back. These adaptions include providing outdoor seating, incorporating stricter sanitary procedures, and paperless menus. According to a recent report by Datassential, there are seven lessons foodservice operators can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic that will benefit their business going forward. 

The first lesson is goodbye fear, hello caution. As more places begin to ease coronavirus restrictions, consumers are feeling more comfortable returning to public spaces if certain safety measures are met. After restrictions are lifted, about 63% of those surveyed feel safe eating at a restaurant with outdoor dining. Around 54% feel safe returning to a convenience store, and the same percentage feel comfortable with...

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Jul 2 8:20 AM, Urner Barry



While COVID-19 Remains a Focus, Consumers’ Interests have Started to Shift Beyond the Pandemic

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the world has been focused on coronavirus. With the virus impacting just about every aspect of consumers’ lives, stepping away from the news is not always enough to escape the fatigue.

For the first time in three months, the virus is no longer front and center amid recent events surrounding protests. In some ways, Datassential found that this has caused some households of younger generations to relax COVID-19 precautions and take on more risk to get out and reclaim their lives.

More than others, younger generations and households with children are partaking in socializing in larger groups and heading back to dining rooms. While Americans are not ready to completely turn off virus-related news, they are ready to...

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Jun 18 8:19 AM, Urner Barry


Uncertainty Surrounds the Reopening of Businesses

While the reopening of businesses shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic is a significant step forward, the rate at which the economy will recover or consumers will feel comfortable resuming activities such as dining out or shopping remains to be seen.

“Is it possible the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is behind us? Maybe, but we are not out of the woods yet, and uncertainty abounds,” said National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.

Kleinhenz added, “Predicting what will happen is even more challenging than usual. While history often helps guide us, previous downturns offer little guidance on what is likely to unfold over the next six to 12 months. There is no user’s manual in which government, businesses or consumers can find...

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Jun 3 8:07 AM, Urner Barry


Has the Coronavirus Caused Consumers to Adopt New Eating Behaviors? 

Although social distancing measures have forced many people to stay indoors and start experimenting in the kitchen, the verdict is mixed on home cooking. According to Datassential, two in five consumers did not actually start cooking more often. However, about 35% found joy and excitement in discovering new dishes, yet more than a third of Gen X and households with children are sick of having to cook more often for their families.

For the most part, the pandemic has encouraged very few consumers to adopt new shopping and dining strategies, the rest are maintaining their prior routines. Online grocery shopping and grocery delivery have benefited the most from these new trials, with 21% trying grocery pickup for the first time, and...

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May 22 8:13 AM, Urner Barry


Consumers Continue to Purchase Meat from Restaurants and Retail Despite Coronavirus Concerns

Fear of the unknown proved to be true when observing consumers’ reaction to the emergence of COVID-19. When the virus first made its way to the United States, panic ensued. Grocery store shelves were depleted, and necessities like toilet paper were nowhere to be found. Consumers have come accustomed to finding resourceful solutions and are willing to be more flexible than ever before.

However, the coronavirus has thrown yet another curveball, with many meatpacking plants either temporarily closing or reducing operations. While consumers have stocked up on meat, there seems to be less panic this time around.

When Datassential asked consumers what best describes the way they eat today, nearly 69% described themselves as...

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May 15 8:15 AM, Urner Barry


The Consumer Perspective on the Potential Meat Shortage 

As warnings of a potential meat shortage seem to dominate headlines, consumers may begin to panic buy and stockpile proteins in case supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 lead to empty meat cases at the grocery store. While retailers did see aisles that include toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning products wiped out at the height of the pandemic, it is possible that consumers have already purchased meat products in bulk.

According to a recent survey conducted by Datassential, about 77% of consumers have at least one week's supply of meat on hand. This is followed by 26% having enough meat in the home to last about two to three weeks. Only 7% of respondents have run out of meat and will be purchasing more. Additionally, some shoppers purchased enough meat to last...

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May 12 8:15 AM, Urner Barry


Consumers Remain Skeptical but Hopeful as States Begin to Reopen 

Now that states are beginning to reopen non-essential businesses, consumers are once again expressing feelings of excitement, fear, and uncertainty. Often, these feelings are informed by their view on how the health crisis compares to the economic one. According to a recent report by Datassential, restaurants can still find ways to address that tension through service and outreach that emphasizes community building.

The data shows that concern about the coronavirus has plateaued. With cases still growing in some locations and no major breakthroughs have been made on the testing front, almost 60% of Americans are...

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May 7 8:12 AM, Urner Barry


Consumer Concerns Increase After Two-Week Stabilization  

The coronavirus crisis continues to explode and dominate headlines. Nearly one-third of the world is now living under COVID-19 restrictions. Most of the United States is under stay at home orders, but few states remain holdouts and some people are still not following social distance guidelines. While health is a major concern, the potential economic impact from the virus is as well.

With social distancing forcing non-essential businesses to close their doors until further notice, over 6 million initial unemployment claims were filed in the past week. That is double from the week prior. Layoffs are likely to continue, but as an initial step...

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Apr 9 8:21 AM, Urner Barry


Coronavirus Crisis From the Foodservice Operator Perspective 

According to a recent report by Datassential, fears of irreparable harm are building more significantly among restaurant operators, particularly those leading full-service locations. Not all on-site segments are carrying on seamlessly, as lodging has a huge vacancy problem and many college campuses are closed.

However, other operators have kept moving along, even if dine-in options can no longer be offered until further notice. All foodservice operators are focused on remaining open as much as possible and serve customers via the few options left. During this time, suppliers and manufacturers need to be flexible, as operators need to be...

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Apr 9 8:19 AM, Urner Barry


Coronavirus Cases Continue to Impact Foodservice and Retail 

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to surface as the virus spreads and more tests become available. States across the country are still enforcing restrictions and guidelines, encouraging people to social distance.

Retailers have gone from limiting hours to closing completely until further notice. Grocery stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked as consumers continue to panic buy and stockpile essentials. Amid all the hysteria, restaurants are creatively finding new ways to serve guests and generate income.

As of March 18th, the National Restaurant Association predicts that the foodservice industry could lose up to $225 billion and 7 million jobs. Mandatory restaurant closures have caused...

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Mar 26 8:20 AM, Urner Barry


Coronavirus Outbreak Leads to Rise in Concerns Among Consumers 

Datassential has released its latest wave of coronavirus research, and as the virus continues to dominate headlines, consumers' concerns have grown. Retail shelves have been wiped clean of food and supplies, gatherings have been discouraged or cancelled, and restaurants are facing mandatory closures.

In just the past four days, concerns have risen significantly among consumers. With the acceleration of the coronavirus news cycle, about 71% of Americans now consider themselves “very familiar” with the situation, which is a jump of 13 points in half a week. Americans' personal concern for exposure is up by 8 points. As of this past weekend, 49% of consumers are “very concerned” about the risk and expressed huge concern for...

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Mar 20 8:22 AM, Urner Barry


Coronavirus to Impact Eating Behaviors Across Multiple Sectors

According to recent research from Datassential, the coronavirus will impact consumers' eating behaviors across multiple sectors. While it is impossible to predict precisely how the virus will spread, insights can be shared as to how consumers will react.

Restaurants are vulnerable to dramatic traffic declines. Coronavirus has led to nearly 60% of consumers expressing concern about eating out, with one in five "definitely" avoiding doing so. The fear is most significant among parents, urban dwellers, and higher earners. Datassential predicts that if the situation worsens, family dining and kids meals will be the most impacted, particularly for restaurant brands located in city centers. About 20% of those surveyed would...

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Mar 18 8:28 AM, Urner Barry


Alternative Proteins See Impressive Growth on Menus 

According to a recent webinar by Datassential, trending dishes are driven by a variety of factors, including global influences, mash ups, and plant based. Among these factors, plant based is especially driving several growing dishes. The research found that 44% of consumers are trying to increase their intake of vegetable-based protein. Meanwhile, vegan items have seen an increase of 621% in menu penetration over the past decade. However, consumers stated that plant-based or vegetarian diets are loved the most, while vegan diets are hated the most.

Products that attempt to mimic the texture and taste of meat are growing on menus as alternative proteins. The research found that 69% of consumers would at least occasionally order a plant-based meat if available. In the past four years, the plant-based burger’s menu penetration has increased by...

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Mar 10 8:22 AM, Urner Barry




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