MRM Research Roundup: End-of-March 2021 Edition

This edition of MRM Research Roundup features news on evolving consumer consumption habits, the state of delivery and snacking trends. 

A new report  by AlixPartners, finds that one in two consumers around the globe has had their consumption habits permanently changed due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  AlixPartners polled more than 7,000 consumers across nine countries—China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and found that 48 percent on average say the pandemic has altered their buying behaviors permanently. That finding ranged from 40 percent of consumers in Saudi Arabia to 60 percent in Japan, with 43 percent of consumers in the U.S. saying so. Meanwhile, the firm’s new lens on segmentation analyses changing consumer priorities in 15 consumer-facing sectors—ranging from groceries to household products, from clothing to home furnishings, from restaurants to travel and leisure, and beyond.

Some of the other significant takeaways from the AlixPartners research include:

“Most Anxious” consumers are in every country, led by the U.S. 
No less than 44 percent of the consumers in the U.S. fell into the Most Anxious cohort in the AlixPartners survey and analysis. The next-highest country for this cohort was France, at 38 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia (37 percent), Italy (35 percent), Germany (33 percent), the U.K. (32 percent), Japan (31 percent), China (31 percent), and Switzerland (28 percent). In the U.S., almost one in three (29 percent) consumers reported being extremely or very concerned about physical health, and just over one in four (28 percent) said they were extremely or very concerned about mental health.

Younger people are feeling the most vulnerable 
Younger consumers in the survey worldwide report that the pandemic has made them highly concerned about their mental/emotional health and that of those closest to them. For instance, 34 percent of those ages 18 to 24 internationally report being “extremely” or “very” concerned about mental health, which compares to just 26 percent who feel that way about physical health and which almost equals the 35 percent thus concerned about financial health. Meanwhile, for those ages 25 to 34, 30 percent report being extremely or very concerned about mental health, compared with 32 percent for financial health and just 24 percent for physical health.

Elevated levels of online commerce are here to stay—but new channels are turning off some consumers 
Perhaps not surprisingly, leading the way in channel-shifting to online in the survey is China. For clothing and footwear, for instance, among consumers in China who say their shopping behaviors have been permanently altered by the pandemic no less than 70 percent say they plan to shop more online in the future than they did pre-pandemic. By the same token, also-high percentages of consumers saying they plan to shop more online were reported in many other countries for this product category, including the U.K. (43 percent), Germany (39 percent), Italy (31 percent), Japan (29 percent), and the U.S. (29 percent). And the average for all countries surveyed was no less than 37 percent, versus an average of just 20 percent who say they plan to shop for clothes and shoes more in-store. However, AlixPartners’ research also finds that a significant percentage of consumers around the world say that online commerce does not currently work well for them. For instance, in the grocery category, while a hefty average of 26 percent of consumers internationally whose purchasing behaviors have been permanently altered by the pandemic say they plan to shop more online for groceries, a higher figure, 27 percent, say they plan to shop more in-store. And it is a similar story regarding meals from restaurants among those whose habits have been permanently changed: 27 percent on average internationally report they are expecting to dine more in-person at restaurants, versus an average of just 25 percent who expect to do more at-home dining.

State of Delivery

Motus released its 2021 State of Delivery Report, which reveals key data related to current delivery trends. As the pandemic placed restrictions on in-person dining experiences, the report found that the delivery industry experienced unprecedented growth. Sales for meal delivery services collectively grew 164 percent in 2020. Last year alone, more than 45 million Americans used a food delivery app, representing a 25 percent year-over-year increase.\

As takeout and delivery become a more dominant part of the American routine, 68 percent of consumers reported that they are more likely to purchase takeout from a restaurant than before the pandemic. With 17 percent of restaurants in the U.S. forced to shutter their doors, the dining industry also experienced a massive evolution in the way they conduct business. In 2020, two in five restaurants began offering food delivery services because of pandemic-related closures.

The report also found that consumers are overwhelmingly willing to support improved working conditions for delivery workers employed by third-party delivery platforms. For example, 55 percent of customers are willing to pay an additional 10 percent in fees and 82 percent are willing to wait 10 percent longer for their orders from a platform that offers better working conditions.

Delivering on Rewards

Paytronix Systems, Inc. published the latest report in its ongoing series “Delivering on Restaurant Rewards,” which advises that expanding digital ordering and payments options could help independent restaurants drive customer spend. The report also found that almost half of the independent sit-down restaurant customers surveyed would spend more if the restaurants from which they are ordering offered loyalty programs. 

The latest Delivering on Restaurant Rewards report, produced with, explores the ways in which the pandemic has changed independent restaurant businesses in the United States. It surveys a census-balanced panel of 2,130 U.S. consumers about their food ordering habits to understand how independent restaurants have fared as digital ordering grows more integral to their survival — and what they can do to drive restaurant spend.  

Key findings from the research include: 

  • Independent restaurants have lost 10 percent of their customers since beginning of the pandemic. 
  • Forty-five percentof independent restaurant customers’monthly food spend is on orders placed online.  
  • Consumers who order online spend upwards of 50 percent morethan those who order in person. 
  • Eleven million independent QSR customersand 32 millionindependent sit-down restaurant customers(almost half) would spend more if the restaurants from which they are ordering offered loyalty programs. 
  • Expanding digital ordering and payments options could help independent restaurants drive customer spend.  

Snacking Trends

DoorDash developed its first-ever Snacking Trends Report, utilizing its convenience order data from March 2020 through March 2021, and a national general population survey* of 1,000 Americans. The report examines all the latest snacking trends – highlights include: 

  • The 3S’s – Spicy, Sugary, and Salty: As Americans settled into the six-month mark of WFH, they saw an increase in snack items ordered. 
  • Tortilla Chips, Fruit Snacks, Peanut Butter Cups, Donuts, Gummy Worms, and Sour Cream Potato Chips were amongst the most ordered items on DoorDash. 
  • Top snacks on the rise include hot chili pepper and lime tortilla chips (1538 percent increase),  fruit snacks (401 percent increase), peanut butter cups (313 percent increase), and powdered donuts (109 percent increase) 
  • What time is it? Snacking time. 56 percent of Americans report enjoying a “second dinner” by partaking in a late-night snack. 8pm local time reigns supreme as the most popular time for snacking nationwide, with the exception of those on the east coast who opt to snack an hour later at 9pm. 
  • $655 – The largest amount spent on a single convenience order on our platform this past year included 35 veggie, sausage, and bacon breakfast pizzas! Yum! 
  • The Highs and Lows of Snacking: Emotions play a prominent role in consumer snack habits, with the majority of respondents (30 percent) saying they grab a snack when happy or excited, followed by 28 percent who snack when sad or frustrated. 
  • Snacks vs. Meals: In the battle between snacking or having a full meal, snacking wins out, with 71 percent of Americans saying they have a snack in place of a meal at least once a week. The meal most likely to be replaced? Lunch, which 54 percent of respondents opt to replace with a snack.
  • Multitasking and Snacking Go Hand in Hand: Americans get creative when it comes to snacking, often partaking in a snack when multitasking on the phone (47 percent), in a work meeting (23 percent), getting dressed for the day (15 percent) and even while using the bathroom. (16 percent)

 According to a new Edison Trends report, consumer spending habits in the online convenience category grew by a whopping 346 percent in 2021, compared to 121 percent growth for grocery and 112 percent growth for restaurants. 

DoorDash’s Snacking Trend Report

Which cities are in this year’s Snack Bracket? Top 10 Cities with the highest Snackage (in order of highest snack orders): 

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Chicago
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Sacramento
  5. Denver
  6. Dallas
  7. Columbus
  8. Tempe, AZ
  9. Richmond 
  10. San Diego

The DoorDash Customer by Occasion: Different Moments Call for Different Snacks

They took a look at a few top cultural moments to see how Americans were snacking. Here’s the Top Eight of Each:

  1. March Madness Kickoff (3.18.21)
  2. Spicy Potato Chips
  3. Glazed Donut
  4. Buffalo Chicken Bites
  5. Watermelon Slices
  6. Juice Box
  7. Bacon Breakfast pizza
  8. Powdered Donuts
  9. Potato Cheese Bites

Oprah interview with Meghan and Harry (3.7.21)

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips
  • Cookies and Cream Milkshake
  • Brownies
  • Crispy Rice Treats
  • White Cheddar Popcorn
  • Apple juice
  • BBQ Potato Chips


  • Cherry Slushy
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Jalapeno and Cheese Taquito
  • King Size Chocolate Bar 
  • Beef Jerky
  • Pepperoni Pizza Bites
  • White Cheddar Popcorn
  • Butter Pecan Ice Cream

National Snack Day (3.4.21) 

  • Nacho Cheese Chips
  • Boston Cream Donut
  • Peanut Butter Cups
  • Fruit Chews
  • Honey BBQ Potato Chips
  • Peach Tea
  • Cinnamon Sugar Twist
  • Pizza Rolls 

Valentine’s Day

  • Heart-shaped Chocolates
  • Pralines
  • Assorted Truffles
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
  • Heart-shaped Peanut Butter bites
  • Gummy Bears
  • Brownies
  • Molten Chocolate Cake

Big Game LV

  • Blue Raspberry Slushie
  • Chocolate Bar
  • Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
  • Soft Pretzel
  • Fruit Snacks 
  • Energy Drink
  • Mini Tacos  

New Year’s Eve

  • Limeade
  • Hot Chili Pepper & Lime Tortilla Chips
  • Brownies
  • Caramel Candy Bar
  • Sour Gummy Worms
  • Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
  • Pepperoni Pizza Bites
  • Potato Wedges

Election Day (11.3.20)

  • Plain Bagel
  • Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
  • Sour Candy Strips
  • Cheese Crackers
  • Pineapple Soda
  • Apple Slices and Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate Covered Almonds

Fourth of July

  • Watermelon Gummy Worms
  • Potato Cheese Bites
  • Popcorn
  • Beef Jerky
  • Mini Chocolate Donuts 
  • Jalapeno Kettle Chips
  • Apple Slices
  • Salted Caramel Ice Cream

 Real-time Payments Growth

More than 70.3 billion real-time payments transactions were processed globally in 2020, a surge of 41 percent compared to the previous year, as the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated trends away from cash and checks toward greater reliance on real-time and digital payments, a new global report from ACI Worldwide  and GlobalData reveals. The second installment of ‘Prime-Time for Real-Time,’ first launched in 2020, analyzes global real-time, account-to-account payment volumes and forecasts across 48 global markets. It projects a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for real-time payments of 23.6 percent from 2020 to 2025.

With millions of people globally having to change the way they work and live – and the way they shop and pay – mobile wallet adoption rose to an historic high of 46 percent in 2020, up from 40.6 percent in 2019 and 18.9 percent in 2018. Countries like Brazil, Mexico and Malaysia where many people historically relied on cash are now some of the fastest adopters of mobile wallets.

Global real-time payments growth:

Total number of real-time transactions in 2020 was 70.3 bn, up 41 percent from 50.0 bn in 2019

The real-time share of global electronic transactions in 2020 was 9.8 percent, up from 7.6 percent in 2019; it is predicted to be 17.4 percent by 2025

The value of real-time transactions was up by 32.8 percent from 2019, rising from $69tn to $92tn; the expected CAGR by 2025 is 12 percent

Top 10 countries globally by number of real-time transactions in 2020:

India retains the top spot with 25.5bn real-time payments transactions, followed by China with 15.7bn transactions; South Korea is in 3rd place with 6.0bn, Thailand 4th with 5.2bn and UK is in 5th place with 2.8bn

Nigeria follows in 6th place with 1.9bn transactions, Japan in 7th with 1.7bn

Brazil climbs into the global top 10 at 8th with the launch of PIX, with 1.3bn transactions driving a 58 percent YoY increase from 2019 to 2020. Expect to see the country climbing even higher next year with a 5-year growth prediction of 25.3 percent CAGR

The US ranks 9th with 1.2bn transactions and Mexico ranks 10th with 942mn

Fastest growing countries for real-time payments:

The top spot goes to Croatia with an expected CAGR of 374.4 percent between 2020 and 2025, followed by Colombia (112.7 percent), Malaysia (83.9 percent), Peru (74.4 percent) and Finland (71.4 percent)

The highest growth region (CAGR 2020-2025) is predicted to be North America (36.5 percent), as both Canada and the US modernize and drive their new real-time systems (RTR and FedNow)

Global mobile wallet adoption

Mobile wallet adoption rose to an historic high of 46 percent in 2020, up from 40.6 percent in 2019 and 18.9 percent in 2018

Total mobile wallet transactions amounted to 102.7 bn in 2020 and are expected to reach 2,582.8 bn by 2025

Payments fraud

Globally, card-related fraud remains highest in terms of reported incidents from consumers, but fraud incidents associated with real-time payments were on the rise from 2019 to 2020 as fraudsters tend to target new channels

Real-time payments scams that were on the rise include: confidence tricks (12.5 percent of all fraud instances in 2019, rising to 13.7 percent in 2020), Identity theft (6 percent rising to 11.6 percent) and digital wallet account hacks (4.4 percent rising to 6.2 percent)

Top three fraud types in North America include:

Card details stolen/skimmed at a merchant location (e.g. at a retailer, restaurant, gas station, hotel, taxi) – 22 percent

Card details stolen on the internet – 20 percent

Personal information stolen and used to apply for financial products – 14 percent

Food and Mood

HelloFresh conducted a survey with OnePoll to discover the relationship between our moods and the food we eat. 

Among the findings:

  • 66 percent of respondents said what they eat greatly depends on their mood, but 65 percent also said their mood can dictate what they eat that day
  • The top foods to instantly improve their moods were tacos (33 percent), bacon and eggs (32 percent) and a nice juicy steak (32 percent)
  • 67 percent of respondents agree they feel healthier when they eat a home cooked meal vs takeout or delivery
  • 40 percent noted an increase in confidence when they cook a meal from start to finish; 65 percent noted cooking is often therapeutic and 24 percent noted it reduces their stress
  • 33 percent of respondents strongly agree that a good home-cooked meal can sometimes be more effective than medicine when you’re sick
  • 43 percent of respondents said they feel like they’re wasting less food during the pandemic than before

Sustainable Investment

New data released by The Good Food Institute (GFI) reveals that globally, 2020 was a record period of investment in companies creating sustainable alternatives to conventional animal-based foods, including global plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies; cultivated meat companies; and fermentation companies devoted to alternative proteins. Amid the multiple social, environmental, and economic crises of 2020, the increase also signals a growing appetite for climate-friendly investments with returns beyond the bottom line.  

GFI’s analysis of investment activity within these industries was conducted using the PitchBook Data platform and shows that global alternative protein companies received $3.1 billion in disclosed investments in 2020, which is more than three times as much as the $1 billion raised in 2019 and four and a half times as much as the $694 million raised in 2018. Alternative protein companies have raised almost $6 billion in invested capital in the past decade (2010–2020), over half of which was raised in 2020 alone:

Plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies received $2.1 billion in investments in 2020 — the most capital raised in any single year in the industry’s history and more than three times the $667 million raised in 2019. Plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies have raised $4.4 billion in investments in the past decade (2010–2020). Nearly half, or $2.1 billion, was raised in 2020 alone. This included Impossible Foods’ record $700 million funding haul, which comprised a $500 million Series F in March and a $200 million Series G in August; LIVEKINDLY’s $335 million venture capital financing; Oatly’s $200 million private equity and $78 million debt financing; and Califia Farms’ $172 million private equity financing.  

Cultivated meat companies received more than $360 million* in investments in 2020, which is six times the amount raised in 2019 and 72 percent of the amount raised in the industry’s history (2016–2020). This included the first two series B raises in the segment: Memphis Meats’ landmark $186 million round and Mosa Meat’s $75 million round. 

Fermentation companies devoted to alternative proteins received $590 million in investments in 2020, which is more than double the amount raised in 2019. This included Perfect Day’s $300 million Series C funding round and Nature’s Fynd’s $45 million debt round—the first disclosed venture debt capital raise by a fermentation company. Fermentation companies have raised more than $1 billion in investments since the first GFI-tracked investment in 2013, 57 percent of which was raised in 2020 alone.

While investor confidence in alternative protein companies is driven by multiple market factors, the social, environmental, and economic issues laid bare in 2020 have illuminated the risks associated with business-as-usual portfolios and practices. 
As the world still grapples with a global pandemic, the prospect of meat produced with zero risk of contributing to zoonotic disease transmission or antibiotic resistance has even greater relevance. With more and more investors acknowledging that climate risk is investment risk, alternative proteins offer a scalable solution that gets the world closer to a more secure, carbon-neutral food system. 

Benefits of Online Ordering

According to new data from Lightspeed. towns/rural areas are reaping the benefits of online ordering. A few specifics: 

  • The average check size for online orders jumped from approximately $30-35 to $40-55
  • New state laws around alcohol delivery increased revenue and ticket averages
  • Small businesses added merchandise, gift cards, donation options
  • An influx of businesses to suburban areas (restaurants actually became the biggest adopters of online ordering → 3,868 percent increase between February and April 2020)