Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the peak of panic buying and hoarding in March and April, grocery retailers have seen and are continuing to see significant growth in center store categories.
After the initial run on cleaning supplies and paper goods, it’s been meals at home that have been driving center store sales.
“We all shifted our behavior from being on the go, going to work or being out and about, to then being thrust into the home and eating more meals at home,” said IRI’s Sally Lyons Wyatt. “When consumers were seeking these meal solutions or snack solutions, they turned to the center store. There's a lot of reasons for that. It might've been for the ingredients or a recipe. It could have been to ensure they had food in the pantry. But we witnessed center store roles evolving because of those home occasions.”
Amidst all the devastation of the pandemic, there has been a silver lining for center store and CPG manufacturers.
“The iconic brands, that honestly were struggling for that 1 and 2% growth pre-pandemic, had an influx of new buyers that really is unprecedented,” Lyons Wyatt said. “And, God forbid, we don't have another pandemic, this is probably going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these brands to really get out and build lasting connections. So while we won't have the types of growth we've had this year, we certainly have the potential for increased consumption of those brands and others through center store at a minimum till the end of this year, but what looks to be into 2021 as well.”
Here are 16 trends in center store that we saw in 2020.