IDFA Quick Bites: Shifting Dynamics


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  • Shutdowns, lockdowns, and quarantines are altering the way people eat in the U.S…and in a hurry.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2019, Americans spent just about as much money at restaurants as they did in grocery stores – $65.3 billion monthly eating out, $65.4 billion pushing carts down the aisle.
  • Today, grocery stores are slammed. Slammed during senior hours first thing in the morning. Slammed all the way through close. Shelves are picked over – even with item limits in place – and supply chains are striving to keep up.
  • Restaurants, meanwhile, are closing their doors to diners, though many are trying to gain additional business with takeout and delivery.  Those efforts will help, but the industry is likely losing billions in sales every week.
  • This sudden swing between food service and retail creates dislocation. But, overall, the dairy industry may fare well enough. Consumption will obviously slip in the food service arena. People will not be eating as many cheesy potato skins and nachos now. But it seems likely that retail will pick up a good portion of that lost demand. Plus, the pizza delivery person is still making the rounds and the drive-thru cheeseburger joints are still open. Other products will do well at retail, too. Fluid milk sales are surging as people fill fridges to feed families eating at home. While there will be disruption in where people are buying food, aggregate dairy demand – especially for cheese – will not likely collapse.

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