Pandemic Brings Big Changes to Food Industry

More business operators see value in digital transformation.

December 10, 2020

NEWARK, N.J.—The ongoing pandemic has transformed the food industry, reports Panasonic Corporation of North America. The technology company’s recently released survey reveals that one in four foodservices and food retailers now view their companies as tech-forward early adopters, which is up from one in eight before the pandemic.

“The foodservices and food retail industry saw many challenges this year,” said Lauren Sallata, chief marketing officer, Panasonic Corporation of North America. “However, many operations— from grocery and convenience stores to restaurants—were able to transform in real time to quickly meet consumers’ needs. Agility has become essential to business success, and digital technology adoption the major enabler. The urgency to advance health and safety and consumer convenience is fast-tracking innovation to organizational business models in the industry.”

Key findings of the study include:

  • 100% of survey respondents said COVID-19 has increased the urgency to adopt transformational technologies.
  • 85% have experienced what they consider to be a very large impact on their business as a result of health and safety concerns.
  • 71% cited digital transformation as important to business agility, more so than any other factor.
  • 78% indicated that contactless payments are in high demand, resulting in solutions such as food lockers for pickup, facial recognition kiosks and vehicle/license plate recognition.
  • 53% believed their customers are more willing to opt-in to personally identifiable recognition technologies for the sake of convenience and personal safety.
  • Respondents believe many of the behavior shifts propelled by the pandemic will last for the next 12 months or more. Consumers are now motivated by new priorities, such as safety, self-service and preferred delivery methods. As a result, businesses must rethink their operations and experiment with novel ways of meeting consumer demands.

To download a full copy of the study, visit

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.