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Where Consumers Shop for Staple Foods

June 2022

After record-high growth in 2020, staple foods saw decline in retail value in 2021 as governments eased pandemic-related restrictions and foodservice outlets reopened - although sales remained higher than in 2019. E-commerce and discounters increased their channel shares as consumers sought convenience and affordability, respectively. These factors are set to remain important for future staple foods purchases, while supermarkets are losing share due to demand normalisation.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Out-of-home mobility led to decline of staples’ retail sales

Easing restrictions and reopening of foodservice outlets led to the decline of retail value sales of staple foods in 2021. Categories skewed towards home cooking, such as rice, pasta and noodles, and processed meat and vegetables, recorded the strongest decline. Sales remained higher than pre-pandemic, however.

E-commerce maintains positive growth

Despite the overall staple foods category witnessing a decline in 2021, e-commerce maintains positive growth as consumers developed the habit of online purchasing and as more players either enter or improve their online platforms.

Supermarkets lose share

Supermarkets remains as the most important channel for staple foods, although this channel experienced a decline in 2021 following demand normalisation.

Discounters on the rise

While the discounters channel was already on the rise, it experienced a boost as in 2021 consumers increasingly chose it for cost savings. Also, private label brands are increasing in discounters, allowing the prices of staple foods sold in this channel to be even more competitive.

Price-conscious consumers to reshape staples

New lifestyles that emerged with the pandemic have caused consumers to spend more time at home. This, coupled with consumers feeling the pinch of inflation, will reshape the choices consumers make on staple foods purchases, as will wanting to shop via more convenient and affordable options.

Key findings
Increased eating occasions at home maintain elevated retail sales of staple foods
The rise of home cooking drives the growth of staple foods
Emerging markets are projected to drive future growth
E-commerce continues to absorb share from store-based channels
Non-store retailing continues to take share…
…as consumers get used to online delivery especially
Supermarkets stay on top for staple foods
Independent small grocers benefit from convenience
Modern grocery retailers record slower growth in 2021
Discounters benefit from the rise of value-focused buying
Private label dips in 2021 as consumers returned to more prominent brands
Non-store snapshot in 2021
E-commerce leads the way in non-store retailing
E-commerce continues positive growth in 2021
Asia Pacific leads e-commerce in staple foods
Top four companies in e-commerce hold position
Global demand forecast to record modest growth as out-of-home mobility recovers
The staple foods industry is challenged by inflationary pressures
Key takeaways

Staple Foods

NOTE: Couscous, polenta and quinoa are excluded from staple foods.

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