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What does a return to restaurants mean for big-name packaged food brands?

Andy Uhler Mar 24, 2021
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A lot will depend on whether consumers continue to work from home, said Victor Martino with Third Wave Strategies. Luis Ascui/Getty Images
COVID-19

What does a return to restaurants mean for big-name packaged food brands?

Andy Uhler Mar 24, 2021
Heard on:
A lot will depend on whether consumers continue to work from home, said Victor Martino with Third Wave Strategies. Luis Ascui/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Brands that are grocery store staples, like General Mills, benefited from some habit changes during the pandemic: more people eating at home and buying food at the grocery store. Once we start going out to eat again, are there lessons packaged food companies can take away from the pandemic?

If the pandemic taught businesses anything, it’s that there’s a premium on the ability to change course quickly. CFRA’s Arun Sundaram said that applies to established brands, too.

“Companies are just going to have to constantly renovate their existing product portfolio and get rid of products that are not selling well,” Sundaram said.

When products are selling, if macaroni and cheese and cereal are flying off the shelves, companies need to meet that demand. But food industry consultant Victor Martino with Third Wave Strategies said a lot will depend on whether consumers continue to work from home.

“I think that will be good for packaged food companies that sell their products in grocery stores and online,” Martino said.

Since more consumers are shopping online, established companies like General Mills would do well to shift resources there, said Margo Kahnrose at the marketing firm Kenshoo.

“Suddenly, you’re talking about a real kind of getting into shape digitally that a lot of these brands have to do,” Kahnrose said.

She said more deeply rooted brands could have a harder time making that happen.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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