The COVID-19 has spread in about 200 countries and has brought unpredictable changes in a very short span of time. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), after overviewing the food and agriculture business in different countries, reported a decline in sales. The reduced income makes people spend less which results in low demand. The sales figures have decreased and so as the production. Food trade shows and agriculture machinery expo are also impacted by the pandemic.
Due to the outbreak, consumption of food and eating trends have been transformed. Nowadays, people are more concerned about hygiene, social distancing, and personal safety. There is a large downfall in animal protein consumption. There is a sense of fear that animal proteins may contain the virus. This fear continues for raw fish that get delivered to local restaurants and hotels (small and medium scale businesses). Also, people are visiting food markets very less. Moreover, the virtual food industry is in demand. The world has witnessed a massive surge in e-commerce deliveries.
Small farmers are directly dealing with local consumers as they find it hard to reach the bigger marketplaces. Consumer food habits have tremendously changed due to the novel coronavirus. No dining out or gathering on birthdays and anniversaries. Let's check some of the important consumers' trends during the COVID-19 below:
1- Cleanliness and personal care
People are very much concerned about hygiene and food safety. The Food and Agriculture industry consists of several important categories/operations, such as manufacturer, purchaser, processing, storage, shipment, and marketing. All these departments are open with strict notice to keep up high-level hygiene and social distancing (wearing masks, washing hands with sanitizer, and limited gathering).
2- Home cooking made a comeback
Technomic reported that 32% of adults showed less interest in eating at restaurants during the epidemic. With many hotels and restaurants closed, and adding other food supply issues — home cooking has become highly popular now. People prefer to maintain distance with a minimal human touch. This trend is likely to continue for some time, post the pandemic.
3- Increase in Healthy and Organic eating
4- Increase in packaged food products
Due to the outbreak, people are making limited visits to grocery stores. Thus, they are consuming more packaged food products, including dairy foods.
5- Increase in takeaways and home-delivered food
Due to COVID-19, the public gathering is prohibited in hotels and restaurants. Hence, many trusted hotels have started home delivery and takeaways for their consumers. People are particular about their food habits and only trust well-renowned food chains. Street food stalls are completely shut down under the fear of the pandemic.