Over the last decade, grocery e-commerce rates were growing steadily, but slowly. As reported as recently as the 2020 Power of Meat study*, online grocery rates in the U.S. were hovering around 14%, and purchasing meat online skewed to older millennials purchasing processed meat, chicken, or ground beef.
As we entered 2020, things appeared to be rolling along in a similar fashion. And then, in the wake of a global pandemic, everything changed.
According to data shared by Grocery Dive, 31% of American households reported using e-commerce in March 2020: 26% for the first time, and 39% for the first time in 60+ age group. Experts now believe that even as stay-at-home orders are removed, online grocery shopping is here to stay. Perhaps not at the levels we’re seeing against the backdrop of a pandemic, but still at levels much higher than had they grown organically.
Shoppers of all age groups and other demographics are changing their habits, and this has had a particularly large impact on retail grocery — from how stores handle, store, and distribute products, to the workload and duties of store employees, to dealing with supply disruptions that have left shelves empty and shoppers frustrated.
Economic experts are now quick to point out that we are not likely to "return to normal" but that we will be defining what's "normal" under a new set of rules. With the realization that the global food supply chain wasn't prepared to handle changes of this scale and speed, retailers may be looking for ways to be more flexible and better prepared for what may come next. And that's where CRYOVAC® brand case-ready packaging comes in.
*based on 2019 data
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Whether it's on the shelf, in the case, or shown online, case-ready fresh meats offer a single packaging format that works in all settings. Easy for a third-party shopper to identify and pick up with limited touch, easy labels for an in-store shopper to read, and with the added safety assurance of being packaged in USDA-inspected facility.
More case-ready packaging in the store also allows retailers to rethink and repurpose high-value floorspace; changing areas such as high-touch service counters or the cold storage cutting room to spaces dedicated for fresh food staging for click-and-collect.
Case-ready packaging also can help offset supply disruptions by being quick and easy to get from distribution to the shelf. No labor needed for cutting, repackaging and stocking — just a quick trip on the speed rack to the shelf, and shelves that can be reset quickly to optimize merchandising if supplies run low.