Streamlined Food Choices Due to the Pandemic

Posted by: Staff on Monday, August 24, 2020

Streamlined Food Choices Due to the Pandemic

Did we ever need 25 flavors of Oreo cookies (the number on shelves in 2019) or the many flavors/varieties in some product lines in this slideshow)? If you said ‘no,’ then you may find some solace in reduced food choices on grocery store shelves (and in fast casual/fast food restaurants) due to the pandemic. Shopping at the beginning of the pandemic has changed as compared to later in the pandemic. Currently, shoppers are visiting fewer stores and looking to have shorter, more efficient shopping trips.

Why some food product lines are shrinking...

**Less is more looks at how manufacturers desire to trim product lines which had been discussed prior to the pandemic but COVID-19 may has accelerated this for some product lines. Companies want to offer the most popular items, improve supply chains and boost sales. The yogurt aisle is one such example - anywhere from over 306 varieties may be found in some stores or as many as 425 varieties. How many sell? One expert estimated 75%. There is some evidence that too many choices leaves consumers overwhelmed. Some stores may opt to remove some grocery items from stores and sell them online. Fewer items helps consumers get through the store quicker and allows staff to spend time on surface sanitation.

**Why you’re seeing less of your favorite foods on grocery store shelves is, in part, affected by consumers currently making fewer grocery trips. Some discontinued items include lightly salted Lay’s chips and about half of Progresso soup varieties.

**Fewer product options for Americans? include reduced fat Jif peanut butter and reduced sugar frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Restaurants, too, are streamlining menu items - for now, salads and bagels won’t be available at McDonald’s. 

**What food may be scarce according to supply chain experts say that some specialty foods, especially imports from overseas, could be less available.

**Why brands like Oreo and Frito-Lay are cutting back on wacky flavors now sees fewer varieties of Oreo, Jif peanut butter and chips. 

**Pandemic trims SKU lineups including reduced-fat and omega-3 peanut butter; Lightly Salted chips and multi-grain scoops; focus to be on Coke and Coke Zero; and there will be fewer Progresso soup varieties.

Restaurant also streamlining menu items...

Menu changes will likely look different as time goes on. 

**These restaurant chains cut menu items during the pandemic including  McDonald’s salads, bagels, yogurt parfaits,  grilled chicken and All Day Breakfast; KFC potato wedges; Subway roast beef or rotisserie chicken options and others.

**6 ways menus will change due to Coronavirus includes using ingredients in more than one menu item and fewer customizable options.

**Restaurant menus getting smaller shares some examples including IHOP going from  a 12 page menu to 2 pages. Customers are OK with the changes.