We are seeing changes in consumers’ buying habits as they adjust to new ways of living. According to Mintel, U.S. consumers are stocking up on grocery store items as they reach for staples with a long shelf life.1 Stay-at-home orders impacted the food service sector greatly as restaurants adjusted in an effort to better connect with consumers by closing temporarily, incorporating new ways of delivery and digital services, expanding into new markets; for example, several quick-service restaurants began selling whole foods (like bread, eggs, milk) to help meet high demand for several pantry staples.

At the beginning of 2020, Kalsec predicted ‘Connecting with Consumers’ to be a trend to watch. Consumers are increasingly looking to connect with brands on a personal level that is convenient for them and ultimately purchase from those brands. With the onset of COVID-19 globally, we are seeing this trend change as ‘convenience’ takes on a new meaning for consumers. Even as restaurants and stores begin to open, consumer behavior is different regarding buying habits.

What we are reading:

 
ASIAN CONSUMERS ARE RETHINKING HOW THEY EAT POST COVID-19
connecting with consumers noodles

Nielsen [Published March 27, 2020]

Studies from Nielsen indicate that consumers in Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam will rethink and re-prioritize eating at home. For most, this means that they will be eating at home more often than they did before the outbreak. For Chinese consumers, they are prioritizing eating healthier and more fresh foods than they were before the pandemic.

FOOD COMPANIES MAY BE UNDERESTIMATING SALES BENEFITS FROM THE CORONAVIRUS, ANALYSTS SAY
mac and cheese comfort food

Christopher Doering, Food Dive [Published April 17, 2020]

Consumers are gravitating towards iconic brands for comfort and nostalgia. According to Euromonitor2, there is a spike in sales of staples like pasta, noodles, rice, canned foods, etc. This article addresses positive and negative affects that several consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are seeing as a result of changing food consumption habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 
FOOD DELIVERY PLAYERS WILL ‘LOOK TO EXPAND THEIR OFFERINGS AND SERVICES INTO BROADER MARKETS,’ PREDICTS REPORT
shawarma comfort food

Oliver Morrison, Food Navigator [Published May 12, 2020]

Food delivery businesses are adapting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many restaurants have been forced to close temporarily (if not permanently), several are incorporating delivery options that were previously not in place. Food delivery businesses are expanding beyond meal kits and restaurants to partner with supermarkets, convenience stores and retail as demand for delivery surges.

 
UK VEG BOX SCHEMES DOUBLE WEEKLY SALES AMID COVID-19
connecting with consumers during covid 19

Antonia Garrett Peel, Food Bev Media [Published May 5, 2020]

Data from the Food Foundation shows a 111% increase in weekly veg box sales between the end of February and mid-April 2020. The article states that while an estimated 3.5 million veg boxes have been supplied to UK households since the beginning of March, more could be done with the right support.

 
TECHNOMIC’S TAKE: COVID-19, THE FOODSERVICE VIEW
bar food connecting with consumers

Technomic [Published May 22, 2020]

This article from Technomic discusses the hardships that sectors of the food industry are currently and unexpectedly facing. Factors that will affect much of the food industry include the timing of reopening restaurants, schools, and the return of travel to many areas. This article predicts what could happen in the near and distant future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read more about recent food trends and insights, we recommend this page: food trends.

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Footnotes:

1. Mogelonsky, Marcia. β€œ[WATCH] US Consumers and Industries React to COVID-19.” Mintel, 2 Apr. 2020, www.mintel.com/blog/consumer-market-news/covid-19-pandemic-here-and-now-how-consumers-and-industries-are-reacting-in-the-us.

2. β€œThe Impact of Coronavirus on Packaged and Fresh Food.” Euromonitor, Apr. 2020, www.euromonitor.com/the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-packaged-and-fresh-food/report.

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