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How the pandemic changed consumer food habits

Пост обновлен сент. 24

Author: Marina Danilova.

Companies that follow trends and are able to adapt quickly to the situation will always save their advantage. In the food sector, for example, they refuse to develop a premium brand in time and go for more economical options, start to sale buckwheat which is demanded now in Russia, and adjust the assortment. To make a long story short, they keep abreast and don’t fire marketers at the peak of the crisis in order to save the budget temporarily. After all, it is marketing that will help you to find the way out of crisis.


The pandemic has had a great impact on humans. Many have realized the close connection of health and strong immunity with food. Food market experts have an opinion that the pandemic has pushed more people to become followers of a healthy lifestyle. Here we are talking about both diet and physical activity. So, what consumer habits have a chance to stay with us for a long time?


Choosing healthy food. Which means natural products.


According to the research by FMCG Gurus (summer 2020), which has involved 23,000 people, 72% of Europeans are ready to eat healthier food to improve their health.

Russia is not far from this statistics. According to SberMarket, from the beginning of self-isolation to May 2020, the number of sold healthy lifestyle products has increased by more than 70% (data gathered from 62 cities of Russia).

Healthy food is not equal to vegetarianism. Healthy food means products with natural ingredients, GMO-free, nitrates-free.


The lack of sports, activities, trips to work are also felt. The service noted an increased attention to gluten-free products, vegetarian dishes, sugar-free products, and sweeteners.

"…consumers try to exercise more and look for food with healthy ingredients to stay healthy until the old age. This is a trend that will continue to grow in 2020 and beyond as a result of the pandemic," say experts of FMCG Gurus in the research "Evaluating the Uncertainty & Future Outlook of COVID-19 ".

According to one of the largest wholesale companies selling superfoods in Russia, the demand for superfoods during the period of self-isolation has grown by more than 40% and continues to grow. Products that could help to save health are of great interest to the consumer. So, at the moment more than 50 brands of spirulina (an algal superfood, one of which unique advantages is considered to strengthen the immune system) are already presented in the Wildberries online store in Russia. Based on the frequency of requests, such superfoods as Peruvian maca, carob, quinoa have already been included in special subcategories.

Spirulina cocktails and smoothies are not rare today.



Shopping in small stores near the house...

Small shops, including farmers' shops that supply natural products and located close to home, may continue to be more popular than hypermarkets and big shopping centers.

Some experts assume the possible growth of farms in the coming years.


But large chain stores are expanding shelves of healthy food too. For example, this year such program was launched at Perekrestok (Russian chain of hypermarkets). According to that program about half of the hall is occupied by a fresh zone and healthy lifestyle products.


or online.

Restaurants and cafes have already opened but the habit of cooking at home more often or ordering ready-made food can stay with people for an indefinite period. This spring courier delivery of ready-made food was offered by many HoReCa companies. As a result, we noticed the rise of new mobile food delivery applications.


According to RBC, in March 2020, the number of orders at SberMarket increased by 104% in Russia. Food products began to be delivered even with the help of the sites that were not previously associated with food, such as KupiVIP (where the category of dietary and healthy food is already at the second place in terms of the number of goods) and Lamoda (where the most popular "spring" goods were cereals and pasta).


Those companies that didn't plan to open their own online stores or wanted to do it only in the distant future, accelerated their business processes. We can most likely say that online shopping will continue to save consumers time and make them feel safe, which is especially important for megalopolis residents.

Experiment and try new things.

During the period of self-isolation, people had a lot of time to try something new. We are talking not only about films, self-education, games, but also about new food products and cooking new dishes.


According to the survey by the FMCG consulting company among top managers of Chinese food companies who were the first to return to everyday life after the pandemic, only 20% of respondents are ready to abandon the launch of new products or postpone them to a later date. At the same time, 55% of managers plan to maintain the course for the introduction of new products, 20% - to revise the concept considering the trend for health and hygiene.



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