Stocking up for the holidays is important for manufacturers, too

As I was shopping for my family’s holiday meals this year, I was reflecting on full aisles in the supermarket and check-out lines snaking through the store.  It seems when the holidays come, everyone heads to the supermarket.

This is important for food and CPG manufacturers to keep in mind as you plan out your year.  Even non-food items have sales upticks as supermarket traffic generally increases.


Sales spike in most categories during the weeks around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  (Some categories have additional weeks with extra-high demand, like cocktail mixers for summer holidays like Memorial Day, July Fourth, and so on.)

It’s great news for manufacturers. But it requires planning to work well.

Seasonal Food Demands

Some emerging manufacturers get caught by surprise when a flood of orders arrive to meet seasonal demand.  Supermarkets are accustomed to these cycles and will place orders accordingly (and ideally with guidance from your sales team or broker). This sometimes leads to urgent production to fill orders — and sometimes even leads to unfilled orders for those who are caught off guard.  (This has happened with big companies that I’ve worked with, not just the small ones.) It’s important to build up enough inventory to meet demand.

Once you leave a supermarket with an empty shelf they can’t fill, you’ll end up on the “naughty” list, which will come back to haunt you.

For an idea of how dramatic the seasonal spikes can be, see this example below .  This is a category in the bakery department, showing weekly unit sales at a supermarket retailer. Sales during Christmas week are more than 3 times higher than in low-demand weeks.

Though I was reflecting on seasonal replenishment cycles as I was shopping, I had some other thoughts, too.  This year was so eventful, personally, professionally, and for our world. I hope 2017 is extraordinary for everyone reading this.  Sending good wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous new year.

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