Changes of consumers behaviour during COVID-19 period.

Recent months have shown that Covid-19 has changed consumer behaviour in terms of eating, cooking, shopping and living. In October 2020 Health Focus International has made a research which shows how strong influence on nutritional trends had the period of the global pandemic. The study included markets: Germany, Spain, UK, USA, Brazil and China with total around 3000 respondents.

According to the research 14% of respondents look for foods that can help improve or enhance their mood (it was only 5% in 2014).  And 13% of people search for foods which might help reduce stress. During the global pandemic, online shopping has become more popular than ever with an increase of 38% for online grocery shopping (64% up in Brazil and 61% up in China). Percentage of people worldwide choosing to eat and drink focusing on protective and preventive health benefits increased from 12% (at the beginning of 2020) to 17% (October 2020). We can see also growth of the number of people buying different supplements and taking them minimum once a week (from 45% to 62%). This group of people is ready to pay even 10% more for the food or beverages which can support their immune system.

Research of Health Focus International from 2018-2019 shows that the biggest group of consumers makes shopping decisions based on promoting their daily and long-term health (57%). Extremely or very important is also preventing disease (53%) and products which bring more energy (52%). As we can see on the graph below less important in making consumers decision are “it’s a taste preference” (49%) and “eating clean” (48%). Still very important is “better treatment of animal” (47%) which doesn’t represent only vegans and vegetarians. The last on the list of preferences are “it’s lifestyle preference” and “environmental/sustainability reasons” – both with result of 44%. Moreover 37% of respondents agreed that plant-based foods and beverages were “healthier overall than animal-based foods/beverages,” but only 12% agreed that they were “better tasting.”

Graph: Research of Health Focus International from 2018-2019

This trend is definitely not dying out since the pandemic. Healthy food is more important for consumers than taste. More and more customers pay more attention to product labels and the ingredients list. At the same time, more and more food producers create clean label products to meet the expectations of more conscious consumers. There are seperate sections with “healthy food” in supermarkets, where we can find various products with health claims on packages, products with a higher content of fibre or protein, like nutritional bars ectc. Organic products take up more and more space on shelves. COVID has taught consumers a lesson – it is definitely a good lesson – and hopefully this will increase global health resilience and that new eating habits will stay with us for longer.