How Are Consumer Trends Changing as a Result of COVID-19?

A person taking a photo of food on a smartphone.

Convenience. Plant-based. Local. Healthy. These are four trends that have been driving product innovation in the food industry for years. Whether it was a demand for morning beverages or foods to support a hectic morning commute or a protein-packed snack to fuel an evening at the gym – food manufacturers had a clear understanding of consumer needs and behaviours. That was, until COVID-19 hit.

Consumer Behaviours During COVID-19

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 turned into a worldwide pandemic in March 2020, experts predicted that consumer behaviours around food would change dramatically. They were right.

Around the world, businesses in all industries have been affected by COVID-19 and its impact on consumer needs and behaviours. The food industry has been no exception. As the fear of food shortages started to spread, bulk buying patterns lead to empty grocery store shelves and limited availability. An increased demand for online shopping and grocery deliveries have also changed the frequency at which consumers shop.  It is evident that COVID-19 has influenced consumer priorities in many aspects, particularly when it comes to food and health.

Consumer Trends With a COVID Twist: An Opportunity for Manufacturers

Although day-to-day life may look different since COVID-19, consumers are still looking for convenient, healthy and locally made products. The catch? Convenience is no longer about eating on the go. Health is no longer about sugar-free or low-fat alternatives. COVID-19 is leaving its mark on consumer trends.

As a manufacturer, it’s key that you keep up with the new perspective on these long-standing trends in order to create products that deliver.

Convenience: Shifting From Dining Out To Dining In

As many are spending more time at home, with limited ability to dine out, consumers are turning to takeout, delivery and meal kits to help get dinner on the table, night after night. This creates a new opportunity for manufacturers to deliver convenience through prepared, packaged and frozen meals, as well as memberships, subscriptions and meal plans.

Healthy: Building Immunity
healthy smoothie

Whether it relates to sugar, salt or fat content of a product, consumers have become increasingly aware and conscious of the products they consume over the last few decades. Though this continues to be true amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a demand for immune building foods has emerged. From the addition of anti-inflammatory ingredients to micronutrient fortification – there are a lot of ways for manufacturers to strengthen the immune-building potential of their pipeline.

Local: Bringing Global Flavours Home

Choosing locally made foods has also been increasing in priority for consumers for many years. Since COVID-19 hit, this consumer-driven movement that has been amplified. From personal protective equipment to food supply, the pandemic has highlighted the value in shopping locally – both at a consumer level and as a food company in the supply chain. As a manufacturer, this is a great opportunity to review your ingredient deck and packaging solutions and look for local alternatives.

Plant-Based: Creating More Green Alternatives

Over the last decade, more and more consumers have made the decision to add more plant-based foods into their diet. Whether inspired by health, environmental or ethical reasons, the plant-based trend has been growing fast and steady. Although food sales rose in all categories as a result of COVID-19, growth in the plant-based market has soared above the rest.1 Whether driven by availability, affordability, health concerns or otherwise, it’s clear that more consumers are turning to plant-based foods during these unprecedented times. As consumers continue to crave comfort, stability and security during this pandemic, manufacturers have a new opportunity to create healthy, shelf-stable plant-based foods, to meet their needs.

Blendtek, At Your Service

At Blendtek, we are here to help you navigate change and fuel your success. Whether it’s through creating operational efficiencies with our custom ingredient blends or sourcing quality raw materials that support your changing production needs – let’s work together.

Let’s Create.

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