What you need to know

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated innovation in food and drink retail and motivated behavior changes among food and drink shoppers. It has also boosted food and drink retail sales, at least temporarily, and provided retailers with a window of opportunity to strengthen shopper loyalty.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The major pandemic-driven shift in food and drink spending from foodservice to retail.

  • The problems and opportunities presented by an increase in home meal prep.

  • Shifts in shopping behaviors.

  • The relative importance of safety protocols.


This Report examines consumer attitudes and behaviors toward shopping for food and drink and toward retail locations that sell food and drink for off-premise consumption in the US market.

COVID-19: Market context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health pandemic, and on March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency in the US. 

Across the US, state-level stay-at-home orders rolled out throughout the months of March and April, remaining in place through May, and in some cases June. During this time, referred to as lockdown, nonessential businesses and school districts across the nation closed or shifted to remote operations.

During re-emergence, all 50 states have relaxed stay-at-home orders and allowed businesses to operate with varying levels of social distancing measures in place. The continued spread of COVID-19 infections has driven some states to slow down or reverse course on reopening plans. Mintel anticipates the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021, until a vaccine is available.

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