What we’ve learned from the latest Covid trend data

22 April 2021, 11:55 AM
  • New surveys and data reveal the consumer habits that are taking hold during the pandemic
What we’ve learned from the latest Covid trend data

Today there seems to be an endless stream of research tracking the latest consumer habits and trends of the Covid era. Keeping up to date with all of the twists and turns is key for retailers so they can cater to the right audience and stock the best products.

Here are four things Speciality Food readers can learn from recent Covid trend reports…

The home cooking trend will continue post-pandemic

In the US, data company Numerator launched a Covid Buyer Habit Index to understand the ‘stickiness’ of new consumer buying behaviours. “Consumers radically changed buying behaviours during Covid. Brands and retailers need to understand which new Covid behaviours solidified into habits that are likely to persist post Covid,” said Eric Belcher, CEO of Numerator. “This is important to define reopening strategies from marketing through inventory management.”

According to the report’s findings, baking from scratch became a habit, meaning raw baking materials were far more likely to be sticky. As consumers experimented with more meals at home, seafood was also found to be more habit-driving in 2020 than in past years, and beef and frozen meat buyers also saw more repeat purchases during the pandemic. Meat alternatives, on the other hand, were less habit forming despite the recent uptick in sales.

A survey commissioned by Nestlé also backed the home cooking trend, with 69% of respondents saying they would bake at the same rate post-Covid, and 65% reporting that they will continue cooking from scratch.

Consumers have new food hobbies

Google has launched a tool looking at 2020’s most popular lockdown hobby for every day of the year. The calendar shows the hobby that had the greatest growth in search queries year-on-year, and a number of food-related hobbies made the list.

Home canning was by far the most popular, peaking 29 times over the year. This was followed by a growing interest in winemaking, outdoor cooking, cheesemaking and home brewing. Why not try catering to these budding hobbies by stocking the necessary tools and products, educational resources or even holding how-to courses if you’re an expert yourself?

The home barista is here to stay

Nestlé’s survey found that almost half of respondents said they would continue enjoying their first cup of coffee at home, even when they are no longer working from home. Millennials were even more enamoured with their home barista set up it seems, with 62% saying they would drink their first coffee at home. This is great news for independents with a well-stocked coffee selection.

In fact, over the past year, a new study suggests that many independent coffee brands have seen their sales fly, as 22% of coffee drinkers in the UK increased their intake during the pandemic. The survey from The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company revealed that those drinking coffee from independent brands increased their consumption the most during lockdown.

“It’s great to see people paying more attention to independent brands as there are a lot more interesting coffee flavours outside of the supermarket,” said Richard Smith, managing partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. The survey also found that sustainable sourcing was in the top three most important factors when selecting a brew, while taste remained the most important factor.

High-quality food and drink is in

IGD’s latest findings show that quality of food is a major focus for consumers for the year ahead, as the K-shaped recovery will enable those who were able to save money during the pandemic to treat themselves to premium food and drink.

This is good news for fine food retailers, who will be able to encourage shoppers to trade up on everything from one-off exploratory purchases to storecupboard staples. As these trends show, there are a number of opportunities emerging that independents can work to their advantage in the months ahead.

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