The Grapevine

How The Coronavirus Outbreak Changed Our Eating Habits

The growing stress because of the COVID-19 pandemic has led many people to eating more than their usual meals. But the threats of the disease also helped promote the importance of eating healthy foods, especially those that could boost the immune system. 

Over the past weeks, social media has been filled with posts of people trying to learn or make new recipes. As millions are locked in their homes and unable to visit restaurants and bars, the kitchen has become the new favorite spot in many households. 

Market intelligence company FMCG Gurus asked 23,000 people across Europe in April about the changes in their diets amid the pandemic. The survey shows that 72 percent of shoppers now prefer more healthy food options because of their COVID-19 experience.

“As a result of questioning their immunity and vulnerability to disease and illness, consumers will look to re-evaluate their diets and everyday lifestyles,” FMCG Gurus said in the report. “This is something that will result in consumers taking a more proactive approach to their diets and lifestyles in order to maximize their health.”

People are expected to make positive changes to their diets in 2020 and beyond as they continue to feel the threats of the novel coronavirus. The survey suggests that consumers are likely to seek products with ingredients that could boost the immune system and become more physically active.

“With the functional food space growing steadily throughout last year, the outbreak of coronavirus has further accelerated the demand for added health benefits in ‘everyday’ food products, especially those that offer immunity support,” Sonia Shekar and Liz Duijves, start-up innovation analysts at Rabobank, told FoodNavigator.com.

Another paper by Ecovia Intelligence shows that people around the world have already started increasing consumption of organic products. The increase comes as consumers seek foods that contain less chemicals and could help improve their nutrition to avoid diseases, according to the company’s founder and CEO Amarjit Sahota. 

Bad Eating Habits Because Of COVID-19

While many people try to get more natural foods, some admitted that they have started unhealthy diets because of the coronavirus pandemic. A study by the Netherlands Nutrition Center shows that lockdowns led some citizens to eating less healthily in response to the crisis.

Researchers asked 1,030 Dutch people aged 18 years and older about their food consumption while at home. Respondents said they ate more snacks and consumed more alcohol due to temptations and boredom. 

Appliance manufacturer Breville reported similar issues in the United Kingdom. It found that searches for recipes that mimic popular fast food items have significantly increased in the past weeks, with people trying to copy KFC's Popcorn Chicken, McDonald's Big Mac and McFlurry and Nando's Peri Peri Chicken while at home. 

Diet and COVID-19 Market intelligence company FMCG Gurus reported in April that 72 percent of shoppers across Europe now prefer more healthy food options because of their COVID-19 experience. Pixabay

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