Covid-19 Consumer Demand Changes for Packaged Foods

We continue our series of posts looking at the predictions for the food industry in the shadow of Covid-19. We have gathered a series of articles and reports that examine the future of packaged foods and how consumer demand changes which were brought by the crisis might develop due to changed cooking habits due to the reduced foodservice sector, a “just in case” approach to shopping and a predicted economic downturn.

COVID-19 Effect on Packaged Food – Euromonitor International

packaged foodsThis report looks at the rise in demand for staples such as pasta as people increase home cooking. Quarantined lifestyles are affecting how often consumers
indulge in baking and cooking, resulting in higher retail sales in cheese, cream and butter. The report suggests that despite a rise in the purchase of immunity boosting foods in Japan there is a prediction that there will be a reduction in sales of premium lines due to financial uncertainty. Locked down families have increased purchases of snack foods in shops and online. In terms of supply chains restocking and maintaining the inflow of goods has become more difficult with a limited workforce (through infection and quarantine), border closures and the general increase in food demand. As a result, some grocery retailers are rationing supplies. The report suggests retailers expect the switch to online to continue to some extent once restrictions are lifted, driven by social distancing being part of the new normal and consumers sticking to the convenience of online grocery shopping. The report predicts that as in previous times of economic hardship, food that offers an affordable treat (e.g. confectionery) will likely prosper as consumers are forced to cut back on luxuries they can no longer afford.

Please note that to download this report you are required to sign up for the Euromonitor mailing list.

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Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Waves 1 and 2 – The Food Standards Agency

FSA read moreThis research found Covid-19 has changed how consumers access food. The closure of foodservice outlets and restrictions have changed how and where people buy, cook and eat. It indicates a trend towards more localised food purchasing behaviours. People are buying fewer takeaways overall when compared to before
lockdown. Purchasing from sources such as vendors on Facebook Marketplace and food-sharing apps remains constant. The number of people reporting eating food that had gone past its ‘use-by’ date varied between 17% and 36% depending on the type of food consumed. People continue to be concerned about food availability. People also say they are wasting less food and eating together more often, whilst also eating snacks such as cakes, confectionary and savoury snacks more often. The use of online food purchasing remains at a high level.

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Increased demand for shelf stables could stick: analyst

read moreShelf-stable and frozen foods are set to continue to enjoy increased demand from consumers, believes an analyst.

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Trends in International Trade in the Covid-19 Period

In our series of posts which look at the predictions and trends being formulated in the current era of Covid-19 we look at the international picture. Below you’ll find links and summaries of a selection of articles on this subject which examine transportational challenges and increased import regulations amongst other factors.

Global Health and Crisis Response by McKinsey and Company

This in depth report looks at the five forces shaping the next normal – metamorphosis of demand, altered workforce, changes in resiliency expectations, regulatory uncertainty and evolution of the virus. It looks at the current world picture and assesses emerging trends.
Click here to read more

China’s COVID-19 food focus: Prevention strategy shifts focus to tightened import regulations

chinaChina’s COVID-19 focus has taken a clear food-related shift with a decided focus on stepping up food import regulations, despite this putting it at odds with foreign food firms and governments arguing against the probability of food-related virus spread.
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Post-COVID-19 New Zealand trade: Tough times ahead for seafood and dairy, say officials

New Zealand food exports of traditionally strong-performing products such as seafood and dairy are expected to take hits in the coming months in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak due to transportation challenges and weakened demand from key markets.
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Evolving Consumer Trends as a result of Covid-19

A downturn in demand was the second most pressing concern of respondents to our recent online poll which asked food business to select which was most important to their company at this time. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a huge shift in the market and analysts are still crunching the data to predict future trends. These are some of the recent analyses.

The Future of Cheese Report 2020 – Speciality Food Magazine

Speciality Food’s latest report examines how the events of 2020 have impacted the UK cheese industry, calling on leading names and brands for insights and predictions for this valuable but vulnerable sector. The report looks at the implications of Brexit for UK dairies reliant on overseas workers. It celebrates the adaptability and resilience of artisan cheesemakers who have developed deeper interconnectivity through this period. The report looks at trends for the smaller cheesemongers for whom retail was transformed and in some cases forced to close its doors and the trends for wholesalers many of whom are reliant on foodservice customers. Finally it looks at the wider international market.

How COVID-19 is shaking up consumer trends: Mintel

The market insight firm says the coronavirus pandemic has made vegan, ‘healing’, and shelf-stable foods more appealing to consumers.

Chilled trends: Frozen foods surge during COVID-19, suppliers highlight opportunities in “segment of the future”

Frozen food sales have surged amid the COVID-19 lockdown period as consumers frequently turn to the freezer for a variety of meal occasions. Players in the space are tapping into new opportunities in functional ingredients, ready meal solutions and color-preserving clean label agents. Meanwhile, sustainability in frozen foods is elevated through new eco-centric packaging models.

Covid-19: Impact on Trade

With many businesses reopening there is uncertainty as to the long term impact that Covid-19 will have on the food trade. In a recent publication Bord Bia (The Irish Food Board) examine the predictions and emerging trends. Some of the key points of the document are as follows.

The European Commission has slashed its growth forecasts for the EU economy this year, warning the block will suffer a “significantly” deeper recession than previously anticipated due to the length of the sweeping lockdowns imposed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bord Bia report looks at the Meat, Dairy, Seafood and Prepared Consumer Foods sectors in term and illustrates the winners, such as butter and the losers, such as live animal exports. It highlights production and supply chain challenges which retail focused companies in the Prepared Consumer Foods sector have been working through due to greater retail demand.

In terms of Retail Trends the report suggests that there have been fundamental changes in consumer demands and predicts:

  • simplicity and core ranges from big brands
  • demand for healthy, affordable, localized food
  • a return to trusted brands, meaningful choice and making the most of special moments in uncertain times

The increased use of online shopping has forced businesses to re-evaluate their online offerings and online delivery companies are now re-examining their business models.

The foodservice industry has been the worst hit with some businesses predicting a 74% drop in sales in 2020 compared to the previous year. However, in contrast to this, some online food service businesses have seen a 94% increase in profit.


Click here to read the full report


Identifying Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

Supply chain disruption is the key concern of the majority of food businesses, based on our recent online poll. We have put together a series of articles with information and links to whitepapers to help businesses mitigate that risk. This is the third in the series.


New Realities for the Food Industry
Minimising Supply Chain Risk

Food Supply Chain Vulnerability: A Ti whitepaper in partnership with RQA Group

Vulnerability of the food supply chain is one of the hottest topics in the international food industry. Those vulnerabilities are not limited to breaches of physical security, theft and malicious contamination by ideologues, extortionists, criminals or terrorists. In this whitepaper, Ti’s CEO, Professor John Manners-Bell, and Managing Director, RQA Group, Vince Shiers Ph.D., offer insight into the vulnerability of the food supply chain by highlighting the threats and offering analysis of the best practice for securing the supply chain. This report is free to download.

A practical approach to supply-chain risk management

There have been a wide range of issues that have disrupted supply chains in recent years. At the heart of these crises is a common theme—the lack of robust processes to identify and successfully manage growing supply-chain risks as the world becomes more interconnected.

This paper analyses the reasons that supply chain risk assessment has been slow to develop methodologies and suggest that is because 1) Supply-base transparency is hard (or impossible) to achieve. 2) The scope and scale of risks is intimidating. 3) Proprietary data restrictions impede progress.

This free paper explains how to take a practical approach to mapping both known and unknown risks in the supply chain.

Minimising Supply Chain Risk

In this, the second of our series of items about how to avoid Supply Chain Disruption, we have two more detailed whitepapers to share with you. The first is by BSI and the second is a paper put together by Deloitte. Both documents are free to download. We are focusing on supply chains because our online poll showed it to be by far the most pressing issue concerning food businesses.

Risk-Based Supply Chain Auditing

Risk-Based Supply Chain Auditing by BSI is free to download. The analysis looks at the process of mapping out the direct and indirect suppliers in the supply chain. The more complex, diverse, and outsourced the supply chain, the greater the potential risk. It explains the process involved in conducting a supply chain audit and instituting a management program which identifies, monitors, and mitigates risk at critical control points. Thus avoiding serious financial, brand and reputation repercussions caused by a broken supply chain.

COVID-19: Managing supply chain risk and disruption

COVID-19: Managing supply chain risk and disruption by Deloitte considers whether Covid-19 could be the black swan event that finally forces many companies, and entire industries, to rethink and transform their global supply chain model? When China, the world’s factory, is impacted, global supply chains are impacted. The paper looks at how COVID-19 is affecting industries so far and which companies will mitigate the impact from this event and has a wealth of detailed advice.

New Realities for the Food Industry

In our recent poll we asked respondents to indicate what their most pressing business concern is right now and the initial results are in. Supply Chain Disruption was the overwhelming concern of 42% of those who responded to the poll. This was followed by 28% of respondents who were most concerned about a consumer demand slump.

These are the first of a number of posts linking to whitepapers. We will be publishing more over the coming weeks and gathering together a large number of white papers on the future of food and the legacy left in the wake of Covid19. These will help the food industry to develop their vision of what the future might hold and to try to help us all to grow into this new reality.

Supply Chain Lessons Learned from The Coronavirus and SARS Outbreaks

Avetta have produced an analysis of the supply chain lessons we should learn from both Covid19 and the SARS outbreaks. Please note that you are required to sign up for their mailing list to get a copy of the document. The paper suggests that one of the most significant things organizations need to focus on is establishing a comprehensive and conducive business continuity plan (BCP) and determining the degree of organizational preparedness to deal with events like the global COVID-19 outbreak. This includes reviewing company policies on communicable diseases, monitoring internal and external communication measures, identifying alternative vendors and conducting thorough online and off-line training and simulation drills. Avetta suggest that this should not be approached as a one time exercise but an ongoing process – businesses should continually analyze and update their business continuity plans in order to avoid delays should there be another outbreak.


There will be huge changes in the next 10 years not just due to Covid19

This document on the future of food was published by Accenture and access to it is free. This paper shows how much food retailing and production are changing around the globe. From how food is designed and where it’s grown to how it’s consumed and who is consuming it. The paper asserts that the food industry will soon look nothing like its former self. The outlook presented here points to more change in the food industry in the next 10 years than in the last 50.


Consuming cheese can enrich our intestines with LAB – beneficial probiotic bacteria

cheese supplierCork scientists working in collaboration with Italian scientists have conducted a study into how much beneficial LAB probiotic bacteria we have in our guts and discovered that most were found in individuals who consumed cheese and yoghurt regularly.

Fermented foods such as yogurt and cheese contain thousands of live LAB that are ingested. Some of these LAB have probiotic properties and, thus, many fermented foods are believed to be naturally healthy as a result. The research investigated how many of these bacteria reach the gut and how many become part of the microbiome, the large community of microorganisms, in the gut.

The role of LAB is to transform raw materials, to produce molecules that preserve the food and to contribute to the key characteristics, such as taste of the food. In other words, there would be no yogurt or cheese without the activity of these important microorganisms.

Using state-of-the-art computational analysis tools, LAB genomes were reconstructed from about 300 foods and nearly 10,000 human faecal samples from different continents, looking at the distribution of LAB in humans based on geographical origin, age and lifestyle.  LAB were found in relatively low abundance in the human faeces and their prevalence depended on age, lifestyle and geography. The LAB most frequently found in the human faeces were Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactococcus lactis, which are commonly found in yogurt and cheese.

“Our results support the hypothesis that food is the major source of LAB for the gut microbiome,” said Professor Danilo Ercolini, senior author of the study.

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Little Italy: Limited Trial

Little Italy is Ingredient Solutions Ltd’s latest pizza topping which is a whopping 35% cheaper than mozzarella* and offers huge cost savings to food businesses where costs are critical.

We are currently offering a free trial for wholesalers, food service providers and distributors who wish to test this great new product’s appeal to their customers.

If you would like to apply to take part in the trial please enter your business details below:

*Calculation based on prices in Q1 2020.


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Our Covid-19 Emergency Mitigation Plan

Every step has been taken to protect our family of employees whilst producing the best quality ingredients for our diverse base of customers in this unprecedented time.

Our Technical Manager Suma Lakshmana has spent her time focussed on our Covid-19 Emergency Mitigation plan which proved essential in gaining our BRC AA accreditation extension last week, great news for the business, great news for the team, great news for our customers.

The Emergency Mitigation Plan developed by Ingredient Solutions Ltd, is in response to the unprecedented challenges faced by society and the food industry since the Coronavirus Disease (COVID–19) Pandemic outbreak.

The Covid-19 Emergency Mitigation plan aims to cover the policy and actions Ingredients Solutions Ltd are taking towards COVID-19. This action outlines the GMP practices employed by ingredient solutions in order to mitigate risks associated with outbreak and ensure all necessary measures are taken to protect its employees, visitors and business from COVID-19 disease. All necessary resources will be provided to all our staff to prevent the spread of the Virus and thus ensuring the continued supply.

A preparedness response has also been formalised in the event of a member staff being infected. All advice given by the HSE will be followed to ensure our staff, visitors, customers and general public will be protected and the food supply chain will remain strong and robust.

If you would like more information on our Covid-19 Emergency Mitigation plan please contact us .

Cheese a vital source of Vitamin D and probiotic bacteria, helping to fight covid-19 respiratory infection

New Irish research has shown Vitamin D to be vital in the bodies fight against respiratory infection. In this article we look at that new research and also other studies which indicate that including cheese in the diet may help our bodies to combat Covid-19.

The new report has been published by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), further studies have been carried out at the Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) and academics at TCD have also published an article on this topic in the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ).

Dr Eamon Laird suggests that the findings clearly show that Vitamin D deficiency is common, “which could have a significant negative impact on people’s immune response to infection”.

“There is an even larger risk now of deficiency with those cocooning or confined indoors. However, vitamin D deficiency is not inevitable. Eating foods such as oily fish, eggs, vitamin D-fortified cereals or dairy products, and a daily 400 IU (10ug) vitamin D supplement, can help avoid deficiency.”

The research indicates the importance of taking supplements as well as eating foods which are rich in Vitamin D. These include meat, eggs, oily fish and dairy products. Vitamin D supplementation and also eating foods rich in Vitamin D is recommended for the elderly and for health care workers to help them to combat Covid-19

In terms of dairy products milk contains 1iu of Vitamin D per 100g, whilst Cheddar cheese is one of the most rich sources containing 24iu of vitamin D per 100g, compare that to Mozzarella which contains 13iu of vitamin D and parmesan which contains 21iu.

Additional research published this month shows that eating foods rich in Vitamin D are also good for the heart.

The results of that research were published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics and showed those with the highest vitamin D intake had the lowest risk of cardiovascular health problems such as a heart attack or stroke. Furthermore that research crucially showed that vitamin D sourced from food was more effective than supplementation in protecting the heart.

Study author Matina Kouvari, of Harokopio University in Athens, said: ‘Consuming foods high in vitamin D may have heart-protective effects. ‘In contrast with vitamin D supplementation, this study revealed that increased vitamin D intake from food sources may protect against heart-related problems, especially in men.

‘To the best of our knowledge, the study is one of the very few to evaluate the separate association of vitamin D intake received exclusively from food.’

2010 Research revealed eating probiotic cheese every day led to a clear enhancement of natural and acquired immunity in the elderly

Research showing cheese to be beneficial for the immune system of the elderly is not new. In 2010 Finnish research showed cheese to be beneficial not because of the Vitamin D but because the cheese acts as a carrier of probiotic bacteria. Not all cheeses contain probiotic bacteria, but good bacteria survive the aging process in some cheeses, including Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese.

The team asked volunteers aged between 72 and 103, all of which lived in the same care home, to eat one slice of either placebo or probiotic Gouda cheese with their breakfast for four weeks. Blood tests where then carried out to discover the effect of probiotic bacteria contained within the cheese on the immune system. The results revealed a clear enhancement of natural and acquired immunity through the activation of NK blood cells and an increase in phagocytic activity.

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Ingredient Solutions Ltd supply a wide range cheeses to the food manufacturing industry. Our cheese ingredients are in products that appear on the shelves of nine out of every ten stores in the UK and Ireland.

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