New food habits may be here to stay

24th June 2020 | Eativity editors

We’ve developed some new habits in the past few months, and we’re not talking about those 24/7 pyjamas and increasingly early cocktail hours. The impact of COVID-19 will be felt for some time to come in the food industry, with new consumer trends now emerging in the aftermath. And according to the experts, these new ways of shopping, cooking and eating that we’ve discovered may be here to stay, transforming the food landscape for everyone from supermarkets to restaurants.

The Produce Marketing Association Australia-New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) State of the Industry Report 2020 has found that consumer purchasing habits have changed since lockdown, shifting away from the convenience trend that had been gaining momentum in the industry.

“COVID-19 has driven change at a rapid pace, affecting the way we work, live, eat, move and use technology,” says Darren Keating, PMA A-NZ CEO.

According to the report, people now tend to have one major grocery shop during the week, rather than our three or four visits pre-pandemic. Consumers are also experimenting more with new fruits and vegetables as they flex their culinary muscles at home.

“Nothing suggests that trend will stop when foodservice returns to normal,” Keating says.

People are expanding their home cooking repertoires, and trying new fruits and veg.

Worldwide, COVID-19 will result in an additional $200 billion being spent on food and groceries globally in 2020, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Following the impact of the pandemic, the 2020 global food and grocery market is forecast to reach over $9.4 trillion, an additional $203 billion more than previously anticipated.

“Coronavirus has transformed the way consumers across the world are buying groceries, both in terms of the amount being bought and channel choice,” says Thomas Brereton, Retail Analyst at GlobalData.

Less or no dining out has meant more people across the world are dedicating time to home cooking, with 43.3 percent of global consumers saying they’re cooking more at home, resulting in much higher food sales at supermarkets.

“COVID-19 has also been a catalyst for growth in the online grocery channel, with 28.9 percent of global consumers now buying groceries more online,” Brereton says.

GlobalData also suggests that things may not get back to the old normal, at least not anytime soon, estimating that consumer demand for restaurants and other food providers will remain subdued for most of 2020.