Food and beverage


There have been significant shifts in the food and beverage sector in Australia since COVID-19 with clear winners and areas which will continue to struggle for some time.

Restrictions on restaurants and cafes opening vary by state. In addition, with the cancellation of large events, closure of nightclubs, bars and clubs; food service and on-premise alcohol sales have tumbled. Conversely, food retail sales have spiked (supermarket retail is up 22% this period) and the market is looking at categories and what will become the new normal. Consumers across Australia are increasingly focused on home cooking and baking. Meanwhile some consumers have been stock piling centre store products, which has led to supply chain and stock availability issues at supermarkets.

Metropolitan Melbourne has moved up to Stage 4 lockdown restrictions from Sunday 2 August. Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops can continue to operate within COVID-19 health and safety parameters. The rest of Victoria is on Stage 3 stay at home restrictions, with restaurants, cafes and pubs having to either close or return to takeaway and delivery service only for the duration of the lockdown. Find out more about the restrictions in place.

Please note: Metropolitan Melbourne and the Shire of Mitchell in Victoria have returned to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions from 8 July 2020, with restaurants, cafes and pubs having to either close or return to takeaway and delivery service only for the duration of the lockdown. Find out more about the restrictions in place.


Supermarkets remain open and are making shopping time allowances for the vulnerable, elderly and health workers to shop in the early morning. There is a visible presence of health focused employees spraying trolleys, offering hand sanitiser on entry, and clear checkout marking of 1.5m distances and/or plastic screens at checkouts.

When sales were high there were a lot of new brands seen on shelf to fulfil short term demand however this seems to be declining as the core suppliers and logistics teams catch up on the unexpected demand.

To be able to provide Australians access to the essential products they needed, restrictions were put on the purchasing of toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, dry pasta, flour, dry rice, hand sanitiser, eggs, liquid soap and alcohol.

Online sales remain high with both Coles and Woolworths relaunching their e-commerce services following the initial rush where they struggled to manage the fulfilment. 'Click and Collect' is also popular as it mitigates the need for consumers to interact with many people.

Within food channels we are seeing store and delivery partnering as well as consolidation.


  • Woolworths Australia has entered a partnership with food services supplier PFD. Woolworths B2B customers are now able to order from the PFD product range, which includes a selected range of bakery, freezer, meat, poultry, seafood and pantry staples. Due to the nature of PFD's offering, B2B customers will be serviced first, with the potential for large household consumers to access the products via Woolworths online in the future.

  • Woolworths has reduced its payment terms and is paying small suppliers faster.

  • In addition, Woolworths are looking to hire up to 20,000 new roles across its supermarkets, e-commerce, supply chain and drinks businesses in Australia over the next month.


  • Coles are stocking restaurant quality seafood and meat due to the cancellation of export orders and current closure of restaurants in Australia.

  • Coles has lifted buyer restrictions on meat, fresh and UHT milk, tissues and nappies which was seen across all channels.

  • Coles are also now seeing customers move towards products that they can use at home including hair colourants, baking mixes, gift cards for online entertainment, stationery and coffee capsules.


  • Metcash continues to grow through its Convenience stores format IGA. This provides Customers a smaller local format to grocery shop from.

  • Metcash is seeking to raise AUD$330 million from investors to bolster its balance sheet and fund new acquisitions.


  • Aldi is following some of the same guidelines as the other large format retailers and has proactively focused on the welfare of their staff with guidelines for shoppers being introduced.

  • Some of their infamous special buys have had to be cancelled as a lot in the past were focused on the tourism market for example snow gear.

Video insights

Export support
Last updated: 1 Jul 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Australia F&B – Independent Grocers, 1 July

NZTE Commercial Business Advisors, Peter Winter & Hamish Campbell, share opportunities for NZ F&B exporters in Australia’s independent grocer market.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 13 May 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Food & Beverage in Australia, 11 May

On 11 May, NZTE Food and Beverage experts Hamish Campbell and Peter Winter hosted a live Q&A session about the Australian Food and Beverage Market.

Watch now

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.