Hope you are enjoying these first days of autumn, or if you are Down Under, Happy Spring! These are crazy times…but remember we are all better together!
C+R Research recently surveyed 2,040 consumers and asked them how COVID-19 has affected their food budget, shopping habits and diets. Here’s what they found:
- 85% of American consumers report paying more for groceries during COVID-19 with an average weekly spend of $139.
- Meat, eggs and milk were among the top-three items that Americans say they’ve been paying more for during COVID-19.
- 65% have cut back on their weekly food budget during the pandemic.
- 65% have changed their diet during the pandemic with 71% reporting “stress eating” more.
- 65% of respondents say they would spend the majority of a second stimulus check on groceries and food.
Interestingly, according to the survey, 48% of respondents say they are paying more for milk and 29% for cheese, yet changes in price indexes since February 2020 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis don’t jive with what consumers think. Their purported price increases in dairy are unsubstantiated.
What does that mean? Dairy foods marketers have to work harder on emphasizing the value of their products.
Let’s discuss that 7 out of 10 consumers who say they’ve been stress eating since the pandemic. There’s been a lot of talk about the “Quarantine 15” pounds of weight gain. It’s no wonder, as many Americans have chosen to eat like kids again, according to new research. No matter gender, age or location, feel-good, nostalgic food has made perhaps the biggest comeback of all time in 2020.
This new national survey of 2,000 adults, conducted in July 2020 by OnePoll for Farm Rich, found that two in three Americans are reverting to childhood food favorites and eating more comfort food during the pandemic. That includes an uptick in favorites like pizza (55%), hamburgers (48%), ice cream (46%), French fries (45%), mac and cheese (38%), spaghetti and meatballs (32%) and others.
For the full survey results, check out this one-minute VIDEO.
Here are some quick bites from the survey:
- 69% say they will continue to enjoy the same amount of comfort food that they are now, post-pandemic.
- 41% reach for comfort food to bring happiness.
- 85% have gained a few pounds staying at home: an extra six pounds on average.
- 90% say their online and social searches for food inspiration have increased during the pandemic.
- The comfort food meal everyone is most looking forward to enjoying at a restaurant post-pandemic is steak.
“When things are uneasy, it’s the little joys that get us through, whether that’s FaceTiming with family and friends or stronger bonds made over homecooked meals,” says Ciera Womack, senior marketing manager at Farm Rich. “And as these responses show, sometimes it’s seeking comfort in certain foods to provide us more relief.”
- Regulate and rationalize: This is where a lot of health and wellness perimeter food eating comes in. In this approach, consumers focus on healthy eating and following specific diets.
- Intuit and interpret: This still has quite a bit of fresh perimeter food but there’s also more processed food in this mindset. In this approach consumers choose what to eat based on how it makes them feel.
- Retreat and regroup: This is the stage in which consumers decide to take a break from health and wellness eating, and avoid the typical rules they set around eating and snacking habits. (This is what many have been doing the past six months.)