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UK Economy Loses £750m per Week in Food and Drink Sales Due to Lockdown

As more countries enter further lockdowns, Kantar has revealed the economic impact the first wave of Lockdowns had around the world. Low out-of-home (OOH) food purchasing patterns are costing global economies millions of dollars in lost revenue. Reduced consumer confidence and restrictions on social contact have created an environment where the foodservice industry is reliant on in-home delivery services to keep it going finds Kantar’s OOH report.

Across the first half of 2020 (to mid-June) combined grocery and OOH food consumption in the UK fell by 11%. Coffee sales have taken a particularly big hit during the pandemic, with the transition to home working a key reason. Sales dropped from £368 million in March to £52 million in April– a fall of 86%, and by the end of August, high street sales were still 50% lower than 2019 volume. ​Coffee purchases for in-home use rose by 17% to just over $109m per month.

The European OOH food market has been more heavily affected compared to Latin American and Asian countries. One major driver of this is the high penetration of meal delivery apps and services in Asia and Latin America compared to European cities. Penetration of meal delivery services (among consumers aged under 50) in cities in South Korea is at 99%, 84% in China and 80% in Brazil’s cities. This is compared to a much lower penetration of 36% in the UK, 37% in Spain and 44% in France. Across the world ‘enjoyment’ is cited by 59% of users (compared to 41% citing convenience) as the motivation for using home delivery app suggesting that food delivery is fast becoming a ‘small treat’ strategy for people in difficult economic times.

In the UK, meal delivery spending grew from £152 million per month in 2019 to £608 million per month Q2 2020. UK meal purchases would have decreased by 70% from £4.1 billion to £1.45 billion in April, but meal deliveries compensated for some of the loss, leaving the decrease at 50% (£2.05 billion).

“The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly had a catastrophic impact on the OOH meal sector,” said Javier Sanchez, Global Manager OOH & Usage at Kantar. “Home Meal Delivery has smoothed Covid-19 impact for some countries, creating an incremental opportunity as people seek small treats in difficult times. The industry is very established in Asia and Latin America and presents a good growth and recovery strategy in Europe. Investing in increasing the use of food delivery apps, could help claw back lost revenue for cafes, takeaways and restaurants. We see lots of other opportunities for innovation. Home delivery services have space to widen their offerings, especially in the drinks market and for traditional OOH brands to find ways to create opportunities for their brands to be consumed in the home”


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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