Special Report | State of the Industry 2020


Epic disruption: 2020 state of the industry overview


Any plans for 2020 were shredded as the novel coronavirus spread, and today the animal protein industry is still finding its way through the mess of a COVID-19 pandemic that hasn’t yet ended.


Dan Emery, The National Provisioner Online 

October 2, 2020


Because of COVID-19, 2020 is the ultimate anomaly. Millions of Americans are working from home or sequestered at home. The marketplace disruption caused by COVID-19 spells uncertainty for the year’s most anticipated food and beverage trends. That is a function of key factors: what employers can gain from more work from home and what employees want. A survey of chief financial officers noted they planned to shift 20 percent of their employees to remote work to save costs. An average of the two ranges suggests that 20 to 30 percent of workers could end up working from home a meaningful amount of time.


Cooking more at home


Fifty-four percent of Americans are cooking more than they were before the pandemic, and 35 percent say they enjoy cooking more now. Many changes have occurred in consumption patterns because of these anomalies. These changes in consumption patterns have positively affected retail sales and retail meat sales and negatively affected foodservice. During one week in March, U.S. grocery store sales spiked 77 percent over the previous year, while restaurant sales were off by 66 percent. McDonald’s, despite its great drive-through system, reported a 23.9 percent decline in second-quarter global sales. This year will be a disastrous year for foodservice, with industrial spending projected to be down 28.4 percent, compared with initial 2020. The sector will claw back with growth of 7.3 percent in calendar 2021, according to the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA).


Change in grocery shopping habits


Grocery shopping has turned into a speed exercise because of anxiety over contracting the virus. Seventy-two percent of consumers have lessened the frequency of their grocery shopping during COVID-19, while 56 percent of consumers feel anxious about forgetting to pick up or not being able to find specific foods when shopping in-store. A lack of the ability to visit the store for a missing ingredient can change a mealtime game plan. These trends give grocery stores and the brands that sell through them a chance to convert more shoppers to online grocery for home delivery or grocery pick-up.


Plant closures


Major outbreaks causing plant closures and other issues have meat production sitting at approximately 95 percent of 2019, despite robust demand. Producers are having significant problems with employee outbreaks, and because of the state of emergency that President Trump declared, they have been allowed to stay open — but it still has been a struggle. The industry has added many partitions to separate employees from one another in a plant environment. Rendering companies like Darling reported a significant increase in earnings resulting from quality protein from depopulated hogs that could not be processed and were sent directly to rendering.


As consumers stock their fridges, freezers and shelves, sales for both meat and meat-alternative products have seen a significant lift. The global market for plant-based meat is estimated to be $3.56 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a rate of 17 percent between 2019 and 2021.


Dinner for one


The number of single-person households continues to grow. The benefits of cooking dramatically differ if you’re cooking for one versus many. According to the U.S. Census, single-person households increased from 17 percent in 1969 to 28 percent in 2019. From 1984 to 2018, the number of annual marriages declined by 16 percent, to 2.1 million per year, while the U.S. population increased by 72 percent in that same time period. Birth rates in the U.S. fell in 2018 to 3.8 million births, which is a 32-year low since 1986.


Changes in family eating, snacking habits ...


Greater focus on health and immunity ...


Food banks ...


more, including tables [4]