COVID-19 & grocery shopping: A new normal or temporary change?

COVID 19 & grocery shopping

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) has performed an annual Food and Health Survey on (1000 American adults) for the past 15 years. The officials enquired many questions regarding their food dietary habits, health conditions, food safety, environmental sustainability and their food system in general.

All their answers show the trends and changes evolving in our eating, shopping and thinking patterns of food over years. This survey helped to understand the American public's behaviour and attitude about food-related systems in times of pandemic too. For the past six months, experts say people's perspective on food has changed drastically.

Are you following a new diet?

If you have updated changes in your dietary patterns due to pandemic, then you're not alone. "About 80% of Americans agree that they made changes in food habits and 60% people say they are eating home-cooked foods more than ever". This routine hits hard for Parents with children under 18, 41% claim they are snacking every time, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, this pandemic let people shift from junk foods to healthy eating, 4 out of 10 Americans agree that they follow a healthy lifestyle now. Also, 10% of people say they are eating less healthy while 30% says they are consuming more fresh fruits and veggies since the pandemic began.

How do you prefer shopping for groceries? 

COVID-19, not only changes our dietary patterns but also it altered the way people obtain their food. A recent study on Food and Health predicts that people are more concerned about grocery shopping than the early days of the pandemic. And most of the shoppers prefer to buy groceries online.

Only a few shoppers are worried about grocery store employees' health to avoid the virus spread, which is 21% in September, the concerns went down 37% in April. Also, shoppers concerns on meat and fresh foods have fallen apart. Few of the IFICs data on grocery shopping reports serve out to a weak economy. 

In May, 41% of the people report that they are paying attention to find the essential products, and 20% claim they are more concerned to provide a good amount of food to their family. We could find the insecurities of Americans over the Food industry, as the number drops to 12% in June, and 14% in September. 

In the midst of Covid 19, we can clearly see the impacts on climatic changes in the last few months. The studies report that Covid 19, has not scared off people to reconsider their food choices and our global health seriously. Only 6 out of 10 consumers say that food should be produced in a renewable way. As you can see, people will adapt and there are signs of producing environmentally sustainable food more in future. The share that predicts a huge impact on consumers choices has remarkably shifted from 27% in 2019 to 34% this year.

Our food safety insights 

Now consumers are aware that COVID-19 was not transmitted through food, whereas in early days there was a misconception that coronavirus can be easily spread via food handling or preparation process, and nearly half of consumers claimed that food safety issues are their topmost concern in April.

However, Consumers have so many food safety concerns but the truth is they have very less control over their food directly. About 49% of consumers are concerned about the food safety measures if they buy food from outside like takeout or delivery and 46% of consumers are concerned about eating outside like in restaurants.

Moreover, people are not much concerned about the food safety issues in home-cooked food, only 30% say they are least concerned. During the first few months of the pandemic, there were more issues prevailing such as food safety and supply chain disruptions, when 67% of consumers are confident with U.S food supplies.

A New Normal or Temporary food changes since COVID-19

We can't deny the changes that pandemic forced us to make. When it comes to food and grocery, many people are embracing their new food patterns, their new ways of preparing and obtaining food. Of course, with COVID-19 we can witness the new normal prevailing in online grocery shopping, and IFIC data predicts it will accelerate the ongoing trends.

All these changes in behavioral patterns is driven because of increased loneliness and reduced mobility, which will be altered with the availability of vaccines. To conclude, the future of grocery e-commerce will be represented through the durable consumer behaviors and attitudes towards food.