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.
This 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.
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This 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.