Today’s Summit F&B Listening Report:
Top News/F&B Headlines:
- The Treasury Department is preparing a formal request to Congress for more funds for the “Paycheck Protection Program” forgivable small business loans. In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to approve more funding for the program.
- Senate Democrats unveiled a draft proposal Tuesday that would boost pay to workers on the frontline during the coronavirus outbreak. The plan would provide a premium pay increase to essential workers of up to $25,000 from the start of the crisis through the end of the year.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday the state saw its “largest single-day increase” in deaths yesterday at 731, but that the three-day hospitalization rate is lowering.
- According to the head of the airline industry’s representative body IATA, global airlines cannot afford to refund canceled flights because of the coronavirus crisis. The airlines are instead issuing vouchers, as they conserve cash to survive.
- Industry experts predict consumers may behave more conservatively and cautiously in the months to come, relying on food and beverages that provide comfort and familiarity.
- A recent survey conducted by meal planning service eMeals revealed some interesting insights about consumers’ shopping experiences and cooking habits amid the COVID outbreak:
- Survey respondents were unable to find 40% of their shopping list items from March 18-23, even after visiting an average of two grocery stores.
- Respondents reported cooking an average of six dinners at home over the previous seven days, marking a sharp contrast to the 3.8 weekly home-cooked dinners reported in a 2018 eMeals survey.
- 57% are trying to make simple meals with more basic ingredients while making use of items already in their pantries and freezers, while only 6 percent reported that they are trying to eat healthier as the coronavirus threat rises.
- 51% picked up takeout meals from local restaurants and 15 percent had restaurant meals delivered by a service like DoorDash or Grubhub on nights when they did not cook themselves, reflecting continuing dependence on restaurant-prepared food even when many consumers have more time to cook as they are confined to their homes.
The FDA issued three guidance-to-industry documents to assist food manufacturers, retailers and restaurants meet consumers’ food needs during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance documents temporarily relax certain food labeling rules that if rigorously enforced may result in bottlenecks in the supply chain and threaten consumer access to food.
Consumer Search Behavior:
Today’s consumers are focused mainly on Riot Games’, creator of League with Legends, beta release of Valorant. 1.2 million players have turned to Twitch, an online game streaming platform, to watch their favorites attempt to play this game. Another high search result centers around the death of Maeve Kennedy McLean, granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy.
F&B-specific top searches continues to show that locating the nearest fast food restaurant is a high concern for many right now. We’re also seeing a new search phrase entering the top five in regards to healthcare workers receiving free food.
Heroes– who’s making the news for doing the right thing:
- Estée Lauder donated a $2 million grant to Doctors Without Borders to support its efforts in countries that lack substantial resources to combat the coronavirus.
- Domino’s is giving away about 10 million slices of pizza to thank first responders and others. The food is going to hospitals and medical centers, grocery store workers, and others.
- Citizens Bank announced March 23 that it’s dedicating $5 million to aid small businesses and communities affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
- Since January, Johnson & Johnson has been working with the Biomedical Advanced Candidate and Development Authority to create COVID-19 vaccines, which will begin human clinical studies in September. According to a release, it had pledged $300,000,000 to support frontline health care workers.
- Revolve has donated 35,000 N95 masks to 18 hospitals across the nation, with an additional 215,000 en route to 70 others. It is also culling its brand partners and network of influencers to assist in procuring one million masks that will be distributed to healthcare facilities.
- Through its Tiffany & Co. Foundation, the jewelry company has pledged $1 million to organizations supporting COVID-19 relief, with $750,000 going to the WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund and $250,000 to the New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund. The firm will also institute an employee donation program that will match the funds to qualified organizations combating the effects of the coronavirus.
We’ve seen Uber donate meals to frontline workers, various hotels and AirBnB offer free housing for healthcare professionals, and various fashion groups switch focus to donating masks.
Lowe’s is now urging its customers to give thanks to health care workers in a new campaign. After committing $170 million to coronavirus relief, the Mooresville, North Carolina-based retailer has a new commercial airing on broadcast networks this week that showcases do-it-yourself thank you signs that customers have made. “Join us and DIY a thank you message of your own,” a voiceover says in the 30-second spot, one of the first efforts from Lowe’s new chief marketing officer Marisa Thalberg, who joined in June. The retailer worked with the Via agency on the creative, while Starcom handled media duties. Lowe’s is using #BuildThanks hashtag to highlight the push, which is supported by celebrities such as Kristen Bell and Kevin Love.
During this time, we’re seeing larger corporations turn to philanthropic efforts to ensure the well-being of their employees, but also their communities and patrons. Using their platforms to thank those who are risking their health to help others is creating a “feel good” effect in a time of uncertainty and confusion. By Lowe’s using their campaign to draw attention to others, rather than use it as an opportunity sits well with consumers who are looking for genuine reactions and connections right now.