The Covid-19 pandemic fundamentally reshaped consumer habits. To remain competitive, CPG and retail brands have to stay ahead of trends and proactively adapt to changing customer needs. In today’s blog, we wanted to discuss how eating habits have changed and what trends could become a new normal.

 

To better understand the culinary trends and consumer eating habits we reviewed the latest Brandwatch report that analyses over 94 million public, online social media mentions around the retail side of the food (Jan 1- Sept 1 2021).

 

The interest in world cuisines is on the rise.

In July 2020, 45% of UK consumers reported that they started to cook more from home and became more experimental in the kitchen. 49% of UK consumers would like to try to cook the Caribbean and 43% Middle Eastern cuisine at home. This trend is expected to stay even after the pandemic eases.

According to the recent Brandwatch data, Bowls are one of the most popular items in online conversations around food this year (1.1 million). Other trendy foods include nut butter, smoothies, porridge, and fermented foods (like kimchi, sauerkraut, or kombucha drinks).

Emphasis on Convenience for Today’s Consumers is growing

 

Since the start of the pandemic, the popularity of cooking boxes is on the rise. Food boxes are delivered to the door and contain a set of food products carefully measured for a specific meal. According to Brandwatch, HelloFresh was the most mentioned cooking boxes brand.

As with the cooking boxes, there has also been an upward trend in online shopping. Since the pandemic, the conversation around online grocery shopping increased and peaked on March 23, 2020, but quickly levelled off after. Despite that the peak has passed, the conversation around online shopping is still higher than it was pre-pandemic. It is predicted that 90% of online consumers will continue to buy groceries online.

Delivery issues and Price are the main topics discussed around online delivery grocery services.

 

Half of the conversations around online grocery delivery services concern problems. These include a variety of issues, from missing products within orders to dirty bags.

Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious

Consumers are trying to reduce the impact of their food choices on the environment by choosing local and seasonal produce. Despite that convenience is considered important, many consumers are likely to complain about packaging if it is not environmentally friendly.

Focus on sustainability and health accelerates the popularity of the plant-based diet.

 

A vegan diet was mentioned more than 3 million times between January and September 2021. These mentions include not only those who follow it but also consumers that are exploring- for instance trying new vegan products or recipes or going vegan for a month.

When it comes to the plant-based diet, Tofu is the most popular substitute for meat.

The data reveals that consumers discuss vegan alternatives to burgers (41%) and chicken (39%) the most.

Almond Milk Is the most discussed alternatives to dairy products.

Superfoods are trending

Superfoods are foods rich in vitamins and minerals. According to Brandwatch data avocados and blueberries were the most popular superfoods.

The Conversation around alcoholic drinks is on the rise

Since the start of the pandemic, there was an increase in mentions of alcoholic beverages with the peak during the lockdown.

Margherita was one of the most discussed cocktails online

Most used hashtags and emojis

 

The pandemic is shifting consumer eating habits and this trend is expected to continue. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started the demand for convenience as well as food and ingredient variety increased. Consumers become more environmentally and health-conscious and expect brands to share their views and beliefs. To remain competitive, retailers and food brands must understand and adapt to the changing customer needs. Contact Immediate Future today if you want to identify the most effective social media marketing strategy for your brand and always stay ahead of trends.

 

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