13 May 2020, 12:51 PM
  • We look at how lockdown has changed consumer behaviour, and how it could affect the fine food and drink sector
Are people focusing on quality more than ever before?

The nationwide lockdown has brought with it various changes in consumer behaviour, from shopping to lifestyle. One change that could prove to be a golden opportunity to fine food retailers and brands is an increasing focus on quality products.

According to Google Trends, people’s search for ‘best’ over ‘cheap’ has actually been steadily increasing over the last decade, so it’s certainly not a new trend. However, the global pandemic has certainly spurred this on further given people’s newfound appreciation for good food and home-cooked meals.

What’s more, the latest GDP figures indicate that Brits want Government ministers to focus more on improving health and wellbeing in favour of economic growth, so it seems the focus on quality living is widespread, and could be here to stay.

But when it comes to food and drink, what could be leading to people’s increasing interest in scoping out the best quality products on the market?

Back to basics
One trend that’s come out of this pandemic is a rise in awareness about the link between food and our health. Connotations of healthy, natural products also being high-quality could come into play here. Organic, plant-based and artisanal goods are being more heavily promoted as essential foodstuffs for optimum health, and amidst a global pandemic, that certainly piques the interest of concerned consumers.

What’s more, the days of eating what we want, when we want, are arguably a thing of the past. Today, with more people spending time cooking at home and eating together as a family, there’s certainly more emphasis on taking time to really enjoy food, and to prepare it with care. People are putting more thought into what they buy rather than doing a supermarket sweep, and with this comes more consideration of the type of product customers are buying: ‘What is it made of? Who made it? How was it produced?’ These have become key considerations today, the answers to which place quality, artisanal products in good stead.

Products with provenance
With a lot of uncertainty in the air, consumers are looking for quality propositions they can trust. Turning to locally produced food and drink means consumers can trace a product’s origin, even see the face of the very person whose hands dug the veg out of the ground, milled the flour or churned the cheese. Products with provenance are taking centre stage as buying quality products means buying from reliable suppliers, brands and retailers that have crafted products for pleasure, rather than profit.

Money matters
Despite concerns over the economy, those with disposable income may still be inclined to spend their money. But, where pre-lockdown, people may have directed their hard-earned cash towards dining out, attending events or shopping for luxury goods, the coronavirus has naturally shifted behaviour and consumer spending habits. Now, people are more likely to be spending disposable income on ‘affordable luxuries’ such as artisan cheeses, fine wines and other quality products that they can enjoy at home as a bit of a treat amidst the doom and gloom. And although quality products tend to have a higher price tag, there’s also the conception that these products offer great value for money.

This overarching focus on quality is a golden opportunity for retailers in the fine food and drink sector. Coupled with the current trend for supporting small businesses, now is the ideal time to cash in. Marketing products around their provenance, production, health credentials and natural origins is key to promoting high-quality products at the moment. Fine food and drink retailers can offer consumers what they’re looking for, so it’s all about communicating the right message through the right channels, making the most of online platforms such as websites, newsletters and of course, social media, where retailers can really engage with potential customers and further promote the benefits of choosing quality products.

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