COVID 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 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 found that consumer buying habits have changed since lockdown. We’re 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.

COVID food habits may be here to stay
People are expanding their home cooking repertoires, and trying new fruits and veg.

We’re spending more on groceries

Worldwide, COVID will result in an additional $200 billion being spent on food and groceries in 2020. This is according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

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

“COVID has changed the way consumers are buying groceries,” says Thomas Brereton, GlobalData Retail Analyst. “In terms of amount bought as well as channel selected.”

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

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

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