Coronavirus in Europe: Foodservice Shutdown Impacts All F&A Sectors

The coronavirus Covid-19 has drastically impacted all aspects of life for people in countries all around the world. As of mid-March, most European governments have banned eating out, and this disruption to the foodservice industry affects the entire food & agribusiness (F&A) value chain. In the latest cross-sectoral RaboResearch report, Rabobank gives an overview of the consequences of this disruption for all European F&A sectors, which differ from sector to sector, country to country, and product to product.

Report summary

Although in these early days of the Covid-19 pandemic the ultimate consequences are far from clear, a number of disruptions have taken place or are building up, and are affecting the global F&A complex in different ways. “One of the most pressing and visible disruptions caused by Covid-19 in Europe is that foodservice demand has been severely hit, first due to travel restrictions and later due to restrictions on eating out as well,” says Maria Castroviejo, Senior Analyst – Consumer Foods & Beverages. “Delivery is the clear winner and, in some countries, takeaway is also allowed. Depending on the country, foodservice operators can lose up to three quarters of their regular sales for as long as this situation continues. The lost revenues are considerable, reaching for example up to EUR 4.5bn per month ex. VAT for Italy and Spain.”

Without a doubt, this will benefit food retailers, as consumers will eat the meals at home that they would have otherwise enjoyed from foodservice. The total volume of food consumed will not change much, but the shift has implications in value terms. Some of the products used in foodservice are very different from what’s sold in retail, for a number of reasons: in some cases, the packaging is different; for other products, consumers wouldn’t know how to prepare the food at home or lack the equipment to do so.

As a result, the shift to eating at home has different implications for different food suppliers. The impact varies depending on their customer portfolio, geographic market, and product assortment. Corporates with a broad assortment and the flexibility to shift their volumes from foodservice to food retail are in a better position than niche operators whose products and distribution channels are strongly dependent on foodservice. Finally, a solid balance sheet will also be a differentiating factor in these times of foodservice disruption.

  • Maria Castroviejo

    Senior Analyst - Beverages
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  • Maria Afonso

    Senior Analyst – Sugar, Grains & Oilseeds
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  • Saskia van Battum

    Analyst – Dairy
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  • Cyrille Filott

    Global Strategist - Consumer Foods
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  • Eva Gocsik

    Analyst - Animal Protein
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  • Vito Martielli

    Senior Analyst - Grains & Oilseeds
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  • Gorjan Nikolik

    Senior Analyst - Seafood
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  • Cindy van Rijswick

    Senior Analyst - Fruit, Vegetables, Floriculture
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  • Richard Scheper

    Analyst - Dairy
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  • Sebastiaan Schreijen

    Senior Analyst - Consumer Foods
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  • Francois Sonneville

    Senior Analyst - Beverages
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  • Hosang Wu

    Strategic Data Analyst – Consumer Foods
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