A year ago, the worldwide population had to abruptly transform its normal daily activities to meet demands forced by lockdowns and social distancing measures. Naturally, being at home more than usual meant that we would prepare more meals, constantly switching between our kitchen appliances and laptops as we managed virtual meetings for parents and learning for children.
According to Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for the NPD Group, consumers at the start of the pandemic fed their emotions, reaching for not-so-healthful options, snacking more often and consuming more sugar and alcohol as the lockdowns continued. As the months progressed and any hope of returning to “normal” anytime soon diminished, the population had an awakening of sorts.
“They said to themselves, ‘I really can’t sustain this indulgence,’” Seifer explains. “And so we started to see consumers choosing better options. They were looking to indulge, but tried to do it more sensitively.” Foods such as nutrition bars or popcorn that were lower in fat or sugar suddenly became popular.
Grocery shopping habits changed a bit as well — also a result of consumers being at home more. Instead of the proverbial “What’s for dinner?” question, there was a shift in focus to preparing more breakfast meals because families were not rushing out of the house for work and school. Seifer says that not only did pancake mix and egg sales increase, but also, sales of appliances — everything from waffle and bread makers to and juice and smoothie blenders — rose