Walmart, Target report strong grocery sales in Q2; SNAP benefits increased
Walmart and Target have reported higher grocery sales in Q2 2021, with Walmart’s sales hitting USD 2.4 billion (EUR 2.1 billion) – up 6 percent compared to Q2 2020 – and Target’s up by “low double-digits," according to Target Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer Christina Hennington
Overall same-store sales at Target grew 8.9 percent in the quarter, on top of record growth of 24.3 percent last year, and its digital comparable sales grew 10 percent after realizing growth of 195 percent last year, Hennington said on the retailer’s Q2 earnings call, according to Progressive Grocer.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said sales of fresh food led his company’s strong grocery performance in Q2, per Grocery Dive. That echoes trade data showing fresh seafood sales for the first half of 2021 surged 33.6 percent compared to 2019 and 9.6 percent compared to the first half of 2020, reaching USD 3.7 billion (EUR 3.2 billion).
Frozen sales have also been strong in 2021, with frozen seafood sales spiking 40.3 percent in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2019, reaching USD 3.8 billion (EUR 3.3 billion), according to research firm IRI and 210 Analytics.
210 Analytics Principal Anne-Marie Roerink said she expects fresh and frozen seafood sales to continue to climb in 2021, for numerous reasons. Seafood is now a staple of many households and it compares favorably on price versus meat, which has been more expensive in recent months, Roerink said. Overall, consumers are not as concerned about seafood prices as they used to be, she added.
The seafood sector will also be helped by a move from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update its Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. The update raises the average SNAP benefit by 21 percent, or USD 36.24 (EUR 31.04) per person per month, beginning 1 October. The change affects 42 million Americans and improves access to healthy food to underserved communities, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said in a press release.
"This update is a crucial step in addressing nutrition security, which continues to be one of the Academy's top priorities," Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Kevin L. Sauer said. "The modernization of the Thrifty Food Plan aligns with the academy's commitment to improve the health of Americans by ensuring access to nutritious, affordable food.”
Eighty-one percent of SNAP participants reported challenges to accessing healthful foods, according to a recent USDA survey. Sixty-one percent attributed the challenges to the affordability of healthful foods given the shortcomings of SNAP allotments, it said.
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