The report highlights reasons why it is possible to imagine that early fall 2021 will serve as a widespread return to normalcy, or in any case a return to stability, as kids return to in-person schooling, adults return to in-person office work, and post-pandemic behaviors adjust to the more typical rhythm of the American calendar year.
Grocery stores and other businesses could look forward to some degree of normalcy but also an imperative to plan for some rapid adjustments to align with this resumption of demand even while most American food shoppers do not anticipate a full return to normal anytime this fall.
The latest FMI-Hartman Group report, U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends Tracker: Back to School/Back to Office reveals that as of early August 2021:
·        More than half of Americans remain very or extremely concerned about COVID-19, with even more concerned about emerging variants.

·        Despite some easing of overall concern for shopping at the grocery store, shoppers continue to recognize far more pandemic risk from in-store shopping than online shopping and far more risk from dining at restaurants than eating at home or outside.

·        Food buying and consumption behaviors have retained their pandemic shifts. In fact, many Americans believe they have made permanent changes to how they obtain food.