Administrative Publication No. (AP-108) 37 pp

December 2022

COVID-19 Working Paper: National Trends in Food Retail Sales During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) Retail-Based Scanner Data

This report summarizes national trends in the level and composition of food retail sales associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The analysis primarily uses weekly retail-based scanner data that span the start of the pandemic through March 13, 2022. For the first 2 years of the pandemic, between the declaration of the national emergency concerning the pandemic on March 13, 2020, and March 13, 2022, real food retail sales increased by roughly 10 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. These increases were especially driven by sales of meat products (including beef, pork, and seafood), although the relative composition of food retail sales roughly returned to pre-pandemic makeup as of March 2021. Real food retail sales during the second year of the pandemic, between March 13, 2021, and March 13, 2022, were 6.6 percent higher compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus, food at home, food away from home, food expenditures, food prices, food retail, food sales, Information Resources, Inc., IRI, The NPD Group, NPD, pandemic, proprietary data, scanner data

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