The pandemic has changed every aspect of how we live our lives – and many of these changes are likely to be permanent ones. We have a look at the food trends – affecting both how we shopped and what we ate – that rose in prominence as a result of the Covid 19 and its lockdowns and whether these will remain popular as the restrictions ease.
Using Delivery Services
One of the key ways that the pandemic affected food shopping – and the shift that was seen most quickly as Covid took hold – was the mass switch to online food deliveries. This was often out of necessity, with many people either isolating due to having the illness or shielding due to being in the ‘vulnerable person’ category. Further, even those who were still able to get out and about chose to stay away from supermarkets and shopping centers to avoid the risk of coming into contact with the virus.
Swathes of the population who had either never chosen to shop for groceries online before, or only did so on an occasional basis, were suddenly ordering their weekly shop from their homes regularly. Despite the loosening of Covid’s hold, it is expected that many of the people who made this switch will continue to food shop online due to both the convenience it offers and the expansion of the number of stores now offering a home delivery service.
The pandemic has seen a huge rise in the number of new online grocery stores, too, many of which provide a one-stop-shop solution so that customers can add food, homeware, and a variety of other items to their virtual baskets, making for even greater convenience. Sam’s Club is one such provider; this store offers bulk buying opportunities on a range of grocery items, frozen food, and even meal kits. Does Sam’s Club deliver? Not only does this online shop deliver, but its partnership with Instacart means that it can deliver in as little as an hour! This is typical of the changes that the pandemic has precipitated: both the diverse nature of goods that can now be ordered online and the availability of a much wider range of delivery options are evidence of a wider trend for home shopping that is unlikely to change any time soon.
An unexpected byproduct of the pandemic is the changed eating habits of the nation. With dining out well and truly off the menu, and many of us finding ourselves with plenty of time on our hands, we increasingly turned to both trying out new foods from restaurants or fast-food outlets that offered delivery or found ourselves hitting the kitchen to whip up meals we’d not considered attempting before, that involved ingredients we’d never heard of, let alone tasted!
In our efforts to make staying in the new going out, and to fight the creeping boredom or anxieties associated with lockdown, we discovered new menu items or brushed up and gained confidence in our cooking skills, both of which resulted in a general expansion of the country’s palate! Evidence of this can be seen by taking a look at the menu of virtually any eatery; you’ll likely find a much wider range of food options than ever before.
Switch To Healthy Eating
The pandemic’s inherent association with health led many of us to become much more aware of our health in general; staying well became more important than ever before, and we increasingly turned to our diet and overall lifestyle to promote this.
The stratospheric rise of veganism during the period of the pandemic is a testament to this: Veganuary 2021 saw the biggest sign-up in the history of the campaign, with more than half a million people committing to live a vegan lifestyle for the whole of January of that year.
Vegan substitutes and recipes have frequently gone viral throughout the pandemic, with the ‘bacon carrot’ a particularly notable example. Veganism shows no sign of diminishing in popularity, with the population remaining still vigilant regarding their health as well as having an increasing concern for the environment and sustainable ways of living.
A Taste For Indulgence
While we had a growing concern for our health and to nurture our bodies with wholesome food, the pandemic also saw us turning to treats and indulgences to help us get through this difficult period. Retailers saw huge spikes in products such as specialty coffees and desserts, as well as more consumers than ever before putting old-school childhood favorites into their virtual shopping baskets.
Food items in feel-good flavors have also enjoyed significant popularity: butterscotch, toffee, cinnamon, and salted caramel flavored products performed better than ever before; hot chocolate, oat-based food, ice-creams, and dressings also sold well. Parents surveyed over the periods of lockdown were found to be serving up ‘treat’ items and special meals to their families more frequently than they had done pre-pandemic.
Unusual flavors and flavor combinations were a big hit, too, and continue to sell well. As noted above, an unexpected side effect of the pandemic has been our keenness to try out our taste buds on a wide range of new foods and flavors.