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Pent-up demand will fuel post-COVID foodservice recovery

Consumers begin to feel better about dining out again. Foodservice in the U.S. is expected to show strong gains in the second half of 2021 given the growing number of consumers getting vaccinated and the relaxation of COVID-related restrictions in states.

“We believe there is an enormous amount of pent-up demand to go out to eat. When people get their shots and feel good about it, we feel like people are absolutely going to go out to eat, particularly the younger people,” Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, Sanderson Farms, said during the Stephens Virtual Best Ideas Conference.

“I think there are a lot of people that want to go out to eat and relax and travel.”

More than 10% of the U.S. population is currently vaccinated for COVID-19, according to March 12 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

States relax quarantine rules

Throughout the U.S., some states have already begun relaxing COVID-related restrictions.

“We have seen the opening up of some states because of lower incidences of COVID-19 and more vaccinations, particularly in the southeast and southwest. I think people are a bit more comfortable in some areas about going out to eat,” Sanderson said.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott gave restaurants the go-ahead to use 100% of indoor seating and ended the states mask mandate on March 3.

Stimulus builds spending

The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill signed by President Joe Biden on March 11 included $1,400 stimulus checks for many Americans. While a portion of these checks will certainly go towards paying necessary bills, some of it will be used in foodservice, Sanderson noted.

“There’s no doubt that the stimulus checks are going to help,” he added. “There are a lot of people – a lot of families – that will spend that money and some of it will be spent going out to eat or getting food delivered.”

In an August 2020 survey of primary shoppers from IRI, 21% indicated they would use any upcoming stimulus money to purchase more meat.

Recovery has already begun

Sanderson Farms has already seen an uptick in foodservice customer orders, although he explain that it is still too early to call it a trend.

“We have seen for the last two weeks that some of our foodservice customers orders are returning to normal. We don’t know if that is a temporary thing or if it’s permanent yet,” Sanderson explained.

“We think it began with inventory builds and now we think it’s because of vaccinations and states opening back up.”

View our continuing coverage of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Par Elizabeth Doughman (12/03/2021)

Elizabeth Doughman is the Managing Editor of Poultry Future.

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Photo :

<a href="">Abstract Stock photos by Vecteezy</a>

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