Back-To-School Planning for F&B Brands

Behavior Trends:



The Summer months for Food & Beverage brands were difficult to read during the COVID years. Ecomm primarily would stay mostly steady, while experiencing retail behaviors fluctuating based on re-openings, and new variants emerging. As a new variant would unfortunately gain traction or grow, we’d notice a sudden massive spike with retail sales. In 2020-2021 we were evaluating strategy almost on a week by week basis, which is by no means best practice, but it was necessary.

Since COVID has wound down, and consumer behaviors are entirely back to normal, it’s easier to predict what most brands’ summers will look like, and are looking like:

  • Come the end of May/June, ALL ecomm and retail sales begin to dip simultaneously. 
  • July is the most predictable. Outside of Prime Day in July, where most brands experience their highest volume month of the year, the slow period typically lasts until about the 2nd/3rd week of August. Everyone is on vacation, losing grip of their diets, etc. It’s prime time for losing routine.
  • Once the 2nd to 3rd week of August rolls around, we enter the “Back-to-School” phase of the year.


The “Back-to-School” phase means much more than what it states on paper. Yes, kids are going back to school. This means a piece of routine is implemented back into the family’s daily agenda. Along with having to pack lunches, snacks, and organize meals for after school extracurriculars. In addition there is less eating out at restaurants, and more overall planning.

One could argue, the return of Back-to-School brings the same behaviors for young professionals. Work gets tighter, no more summer fridays, summer vacation days, etc. It’s gearing up for a full-on push until the end of Q4. This reinforces the need to lockdown and reform a routine.

Come the 2nd/3rd week of August all of the above behaviors begin to benefit emerging F&B brands. In order, we see the most noticeable spike w/ retail sales, then Amazon, then pending the product, website sales.



Here is what you need to focus on during “Back-to-School”:

  • Adjusting your search terms to capture broader statements:
    • “School Snacks”, “On the go___”, “Prepared Meals”, “Frozen Meals”, etc.
    • A change of routine, means a shift back to convenience and the desire to find something new to help.
    • Many consumers are searching broadly, but open to incorporating new products into their diets.
  • Offering deals in bulk (DTC):
    • For all non-retail related items, consumers are looking to buy in bulk again for convenience.
    • Maybe test a discount on higher AOV items during time period
  • Shifting all messaging & content towards convenience and routine:
    • Include families, or packing lunches for kids in your content (if you are going after that demo).
    • Make sure you are stressing the ease and accessibility of your products in the copy.
    • Focus a bit less on KPI’s (ingredients,taste etc.) and speak more broadly to incorporation into the consumers lifestyle.
    • Get rid of all that Summer-inspired content.
  • Ramp your budgets back up:
    • As I mentioned above, the slow months of the year are basically over.
    • Search volume, buying behavior etc. have all started to increase, scale budgets accordingly to maximize sales.
    • Ride this momentum into Q4 and the Holiday season.


“Back-to-School” is a mini version of “Better For You” Season. In you are interested in BTS strategy, case studies, etc. fill out the form below or email

The point of this post was to get you prepared for the beginning of the rest of your year. BTS transitions nicely into Holiday buying behaviors (with a slight lull at the end of October). Both include heightened buying behaviors that you will want to take advantage of.

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