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Evolving eating habits as a result of COVID-19

Posted: 5 May 2020 | | No comments yet

In April 2020, FMCG Gurus surveyed consumers across 18 countries about how coronavirus was influencing their food attitudes and behaviours. Here, Mike Hughes gives an overview.

consumer shopping for healthy foods during pandemic

Coronavirus is something that is having a major impact on the eating and drinking habits of consumers, especially as concerns about COVID-19 are wide ranging and cover both health and financial worries. This means that consumers are looking to be more health conscious but, at the same time, are wanting to do so on a budget, turning to everyday foods such as fruit as a result.

Additionally, as a result of COVID-19, consumers are becoming more concerned about the environment and are seeking out moments of comfort, both of which will shape eating habits.

Consumers will want to maximise their health in order to boost their immunity and reduce vulnerability to disease and illness. 

Although there has been little positive sentiment that has emerged from COVID-19, one area that has resulted in optimism is that consumers have become more confident that damage done to the environment is repairable.

Research from FMCG Gurus has found that a total of 76 percent of consumers across the globe say that they are concerned about the coronavirus, whilst 59 percent say that they have become more conscious about their overall health and 57 percent about their immunity. As a result of this, 73 percent of consumers say that they plan to eat and drink healthier.

When asked what steps they will take to lead a healthier lifestyle, the top three answers given by consumers was increase intake of fruit (58 percent), reduce sugar intake (45 percent) and increase protein intake (37 percent). This shows that consumers will adopt a back to basics approach to nutrition, turning to everyday food and drink products that they deem to be natural and contain ingredients that offer a nutritional boost. Turning to everyday food and drink such as fruit will be linked to trust and affordability, which is important at a time when 63 percent of consumers think that the world is heading towards recession.

Consumers will want to maximise their health in order to boost their immunity and reduce vulnerability to disease and illness. 

Although there has been little positive sentiment that has emerged from COVID-19, one area that has resulted in optimism is that consumers have become more confident that damage done to the environment is repairable. This is a result of consumers witnessing natural resources start to replenish themselves in a short period of time because of restrictions in movement. As a result of this, 55 percent of consumers said they have now become more conscious about the environment and 35 percent said that they are now paying closer attention to sustainability claims.

These findings are based on an FMCG Gurus COVID-19 survey across 18 countries. For more information please contact [email protected]         

Another key area that will influence food habits in 2020 and beyond is the need for escapism. For instance, a high proportion of consumers are concerned about the impact that COVID-19 is having on their mental wellbeing, whilst 55 percent of consumers have sought out food products to improve their mood in the last month.

Consumers will have a wide range of worries, such as the health and wellbeing of themselves and loved ones, as well as financial concerns due to any impending recession. This is something that will drive demand for products that offer moments of comfort and escapism from daily pressures.

Across the globe, a total of 48 percent of consumers believe that COVID-19 will continue to influence day-to-day lives for at least twelve months. As such, this is something that will drive demand for food that is healthy, sustainable and offers moments of comfort.

About the author 

Mike Hughes has over 13 years’ experience analysing consumer trends, attitudes and behaviours and currently heads up the research and insight division at FMCG Gurus. Mike has a particular interest in highlighting how consumer attitudes and behaviours can often differ and what the true meaning of trends are for the industry.

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