Have food deliveries dropped off post lockdown?

One of the biggest changes to happen in the food industry over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic has been the increase of online shopping through supermarkets and takeaway apps. However, has this increase in demand continued post lockdown or has the demand for food deliveries dropped off?

Takeaway Deliveries

Hospitality venues such as restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and social clubs were all forced to close their doors in the height of the pandemic in 2020, but they still had the opportunity to provide food and drinks through takeaway delivery, click and collect and/or drive through. This change encouraged many food businesses, both national chains and local establishments, to adapt their business model to fit the restrictions.

Now, over a year on from the first UK Coronavirus lockdown, these food businesses have been able to confidently open their doors to the public, but many are still continuing to offer takeaways as part of their services.

After offering these services to customers, many businesses have realised the opportunities available to target more customers that may not be able to drive or reach their café, bar or restaurant. With more exposure, food businesses are able to be more successful after a tough year.

Grocery Deliveries

Online grocery shopping is slightly different to takeaway deliveries as it provides more necessary items to customers that range from food to toiletries to cleaning products. When the UK first went into lockdown, it was advised that elderly people and vulnerable people in particular should ‘shield’ and limit themselves from seeing other people outside of their households.

The only real way that people in these groups could fully shield was to get their food, toiletries and essentials delivered directly to their house from supermarkets, although many volunteer groups sprung up to deliver locally from smaller shops.

Deliveries from supermarkets were around for a long time before COVID-19 appeared but there was a significant increase when the UK went into the first nationwide lockdown in 2020. The UK dipped in and out of multiple lockdowns throughout 2020 resulting in households across the UK using the internet to order their food shopping to the door.

Since restrictions have lifted across the UK, food shoppers have returned to do their shopping in person but still many have continued in their routine from the past year. Online grocery shopping experienced a sales growth in the past 12 months remaining above 70% since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. However, since April 2021, visits to stores have increased slightly for the first time in a year.

As the UK restrictions ease, it is clear that shopping behaviour has changed again with an increase in confidence and growing numbers of visitors returning to stores. Whilst online sales remain high, in store sales are starting to rebalance as shoppers are feeling more comfortable exploring beyond the lockdown essential items.

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