The State of Grocery Retail 2021 - North America

COVID-19 hit North America with force in March 2020. As in most other regions of the world, the pandemic has caused an unprecedented health and economic crisis over the past 15 months. Seemingly overnight, grocers became crucial businesses and played a vital role in serving local communities and ensuring an ongoing safe and healthy food supply. In this report, we frame major trends and issues for CEOs seeking to stay ahead of market shifts in 2021 and beyond. This report is part of McKinsey’s broader global series The State of Grocery Retail, an annual publication covering three continents, including Asia–Pacific, the European Union, and North America.

Featured insights


The state of grocery in North America

– As the industry looks beyond the pandemic, grocery retailers must determine which trends will endure. A focus on five areas will separate the winners from the rest of the pack.

Automation opportunities in North American grocery

– Recent trends and technological advancements have made automation viable across the value chain.

Making online grocery a winning proposition

– The global pandemic brought online platforms to center stage for grocers. Retailers should consider five trends and take five steps to ensure this shift is sustainable and profitable.

The potential for powerhouse Private Brands: an updated view

– In the past year, consumers have snapped up private-label goods at grocers. Will this trend last beyond the pandemic? Only if grocers develop a compelling brand strategy and operating model.

Prioritizing flexibility: How grocers can get the most out of technology

– Grocers have realized technology is core to their strategies, but flexibility is key to generate value from new technologies—now and in the future.

Grocers can fuel growth with advanced analytics

– Organizational maturity will be a critical element for grocery retailers seeking to unlock the full potential of analytics.