Embracing New Shopping Habits

Slowly but surely we’re working towards creating a new sense of normalcy. Grocery stores are almost back to pre-pandemic operations. Production and distribution issues are mostly behind us. And generally, a welcomed sense of calmness and stability is spreading amongst shoppers. As the food & beverage industry moves forward,  however, it is important for us to understand the lasting effects of the past year. Although some of the trends that arose over the past year and a half may quickly be pushed to the wayside, new shopping habits have proven to be points of interest for both consumers and brands.

Home Cooking is Here to Stay

We have previously discussed how consumers have grown to be more comfortable and interested in cooking at home. While spending more time at home, many people have learned new cooking techniques or rediscovered their love of cooking and baking. And although many people are much more comfortable dining out than they were a year ago, their newfound interest in home cooking has prompted new shopping habits. According to a report from The Food Industry Association (FMI), nearly 41% of those surveyed plan on cooking more meals at home compared to pre-pandemic behaviors. Although sales may never reach the peak they experienced last year, the possibility of them dropping to pre-pandemic numbers is slim.

Staying at the forefront of consumer’s minds is still pivotal for the continued success of most brands. Similar to shopping behaviors, moral and ethical behaviors have also shifted. With a heightened emphasis on better-for-you products, sustainability, transparency, and health/wellness – 2021’s biggest food trends will continue to shape the way consumers shop and interact with brands.

Convenience and Resources

Not only are consumers shopping more frequently, but the way they shop and how they cook have started to shift. According to Ashley Lind, Director of Demand Sciences at Conagra, in an article on Food Dive, “[P]eople have invested in their kitchens during the pandemic, buying small appliances such as waffle makers and single-serve brewing machines they will want to continue to use.” Over the past year, many people have stocked up on pantry staples and invested in new kitchen appliances to keep cooking convenient and exciting for themselves. Having both the ability to shop more comfortably online and in-person and the resources to cook new dishes, shoppers may be more willing to try new products.

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