Meat, Herbs & Spices, Condiments Most At-Risk as Consumers Increase QSR/Restaurant Spend

CHICAGO, April 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has launched a Grocery Vulnerability Index to guide CPG brands and retailers on the impact that increased out-of-home dining has on selected grocery categories, as restaurants add capacity and COVID-19 vaccinations become widely available. The index measures the likelihood that a change in quick service restaurant (QSR) spending correlates to a change in spending on a given grocery category.

“As COVID restrictions begin to relax and vaccinations become widely used, retailers and brands need to understand what the changes mean for their business,” said Eric Belcher, CEO, Numerator. “Numerator data helps retailers and brands anticipate and predict the impact of re-emerging behaviors using advanced analytics.”

Categories with the highest index scores (>125) are most likely to be negatively affected when consumers return to pre-COVID dining behaviors (methodology below). Key findings include:

Highly Vulnerable categories: Meat, Herbs & Spices

  • Meat is 50% more likely than the average grocery category to experience a decrease in grocery sales as QSR/restaurants reopen and consumers replace their home-cooked meals.
  • Herbs & Spices are 46% more likely to see a decrease in sales, with more consumers eating out and reducing their at-home food preparation.

Moderately Vulnerable: Condiments, Packaged Bakery, Dairy

  • Condiments are 19% more likely to see a decrease, with consumption declining as consumers eat fewer meals and snacks at home.
  • Packaged Bakery is 13% more likely to have a negative response, as increased mobility among consumers will likely result in more baked goods purchased on-the-go from QSRs.
  • Dairy is 8% more likely to see a decrease. While many dairy products remain staples in the refrigerator, both consumption and usage in recipes will likely decline.

Wait and See: Frozen Foods, Baking & Cooking

  • Frozen Foods is currently categorized as a “Wait and See” category, currently at 2% more likely to see a decrease, but certain categories within frozen foods are more vulnerable than others to an increase in restaurant spend.
  • Baking and Cooking is currently at 2%, but vulnerability could be reduced if baking hobbies taken up during the pandemic become lasting behaviors.

Not Vulnerable: Candy, Shelf Stable Meals, Breakfast, and more

  • Candy and Shelf Stable Meals were the two categories least likely (both -69%) to see a decrease in sales as restaurants reopen.
  • Other grocery categories considered not vulnerable to increased restaurant spend are Breakfast (-56%), Canned Foods (-37%), Produce (-33%), and Alcohol (-33%).
Vulnerability LevelDepartmentIndex Score
Highly VulnerableMeat150
Herbs & Spices146
Moderately VulnerableCondiments119
Packaged Bakery113
Dairy108
Wait & SeeFrozen Foods102
Baking & Cooking102
Not VulnerableBeans & Grains75
Pasta & Noodles71
Produce67
Alcohol Beverages67
Canned Foods63
Breakfast44
Shelf Stable Meals31
Candy31

Methodology: Consumer spending on QSR/restaurants and on the grocery sector were correlated in 4-week rolling periods for each of the weeks during the COVID period (3/9/20 – 2/7/21). Similarly, correlations between each individual Grocery category and QSR/Restaurant spending were calculated over the same COVID analysis period. The correlation for each Grocery category is indexed to the average correlation observed for the overall Grocery Sector to provide the likelihood that increased spending on QSR/Restaurants will result in a decrease in spending for a given Grocery category.

About Numerator
Numerator is a data and tech company bringing speed and scale to market research. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Numerator has more than 2,000 employees worldwide. The company blends proprietary data with advanced technology to create unique insights for the market research industry that has been slow to change. The majority of Fortune 100 companies are Numerator clients.

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