Wholesale data visualisation specialist SalesOut uses comparison of 2019 and 2020 data to explore the immediate and ongoing impact of lockdown on the food service industry sales and predict the recovery the sector can expect to see.
Sales to food service customers dropped by 60% in the first 2 weeks of lockdown, as pubs and clubs, restaurants, leisure and hotels were closed across the UK. The sales have been slowly but steadily recovering ever since. In the last 2.5 months of lockdown, up to the week ending the 3rd of July, sales to food service have grown by 20%.
A closer look at this data shows food service outlets, forced to shut due to government rules, preparing for their grand reopening on the 4th of July. Between the 13th of June and 3rd of July there was tremendous growth in wholesale orders as the food service industry prepared to open its doors again: pubs saw a spike of 141% for the week ending the 3rd of July vs the week ending 19th of June; accommodation orders were up 80%; restaurants were up 37%; and leisure and recreation was up 41%.
SalesOut’s team of data analysts has used a regression analysis technique to pinpoint a correlation between sales in the food service and convenience retail channels in 2019, and tracked the impact of lockdown on the relationship between the two. While food service was impacted heavily at the beginning of lockdown, convenience grew quickly in March - gaining £0.13p for every £1.00 that food service lost.
According to the SalesOut data analysis, the recovery of food service channels as indicated above will have a marked impact on convenience wholesale orders. Regressing convenience sales data against leisure, pubs, restaurants and accommodation, SalesOut estimates that a 40% growth in food service orders in the next month could lead up to a -4.5% decline in overall Convenience sales (£-1.8million).
It predicts that the food service - namely accommodation, pubs, restaurants and leisure and recreation - customer count will grow by 40%, which could lead to a +7% overall increase in the convenience customer count. But while convenience customers will keep rising as lockdown lifts, their average spend will be lower as consumers return to pubs and restaurants and we see a rebalancing in demand between these two key wholesale sectors.