COVID-19 and At-Home Cooking Habits: Statistics Show Significant Change

With the rise in coronavirus cases worldwide I thought this was an interesting article.

Our cooking habits haven’t really changed. We have always cooked and made dinner every night and sat at the table, with cloth napkins and lit candles to enjoy it.

Our shopping and eating habits have changed, though. I’ve switched from going every week to every 2 weeks and even then I do about half of the shopping online for drive-thru pick-up. I no longer go to several stores but do it all at the big supermarket.

Going every 2 weeks means we no longer have 2 or 3 fresh fruits each every day. I can buy enough for the first week, but the second week we eat canned or frozen fruit.

One change to cooking – I’m cooking pinto and white beans in the Instant Pot and making more soups. And making applesauce.

Okay, we’ve changed….. Have you?

Read on for some facts:

According to the 2020 Food & Health Survey, the pandemic caused 85% of people to alter their cooking habits, with 60% of respondents saying that they are now spending a significantly greater amount of time cooking for themselves.

Additionally, people reported that they were snacking more (32% of respondents) and thinking about food more than usual (27%). These changes, along with a generalized slowdown of the economy, have caused many Americans to revaluate their relationship with food.

Financial instability causes consumers to spend less on food

The economic slowdown caused by the pandemic has led to a loss in average household income, and consumers have responded by shifting spending priorities to food and away from mortgages and credit cards.

According to Black Knight, mortgage delinquencies reached 7.76% in May, a high since 2011, all while food demands have skyrocketed. The New York Times reported, for instance, that lines at charity pantries and food banks have reached record levels, and 70% of people, according to a national survey conducted by AP-NORC Center, view the state of the economy as poor.

As a response to the uncertainty, people are stocking home pantries with processed food, dry goods or at-home-cooking ingredients that can be stored for long periods of time. This is in stark contrast to the preference for freshly cooked meals seen in previous years. Meals purchased away from home, either in restaurants, takeout, or otherwise, had increased by 49% over the five years before the beginning of the pandemic, whereas at-home-cooking ingredients had declined by 4%.

Restaurants face challenging times, online orders skyrocket

With restaurants either closing or facing serious difficulties because of COVID-19, the shift towards at-home cooking may have a lasting effect. Nearly half of all restaurants owners fear that their customers may not come back, according to survey results published by Olymel Food Services.

Meanwhile, Nielsen scanning data for the 15-week period ending on June 13, 2020 found that online food sales were seeing a sharp increase:

  • Snacks and beverage were up 24%
  • Established specialty food products (ex: oat milk) were up 196.1%
  • Fresh meat alternatives were up by a staggering 223.3%
  • Demand for baking yeast was up 213%
  • Overall, food/beverage sales went up 20.6%

Online orders have skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. E-commerce shopping between April and May 2020 amounted to $153 billion, according to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index. a 34% increase over the same period in the previous year.

Furthermore, before the pandemic only 3-4% of grocery shopping in the US was done online, according to Bain & Company. That figure has surged by 1015% during the pandemic. All-in-all, COVID-19 has fundamentally shifted people’s dining and purchasing habits as restaurants have closed and online shopping has become more popular and accessible for food purchasing.

5 thoughts on “COVID-19 and At-Home Cooking Habits: Statistics Show Significant Change”

  1. The pandemic changed food shopping in Morocco quite dramatically. Online grocery shopping did not exist prior to thus year…huge step forward…though pity it took a pandemic to see it happen

  2. We’ve changed. We didn’t used to plan ahead – but would often bicycle over to the vegetable store every day. It took us a while to get accustomed to making sure there were enough vegetables to last for a week. We’ve also been even more vigilant about using up everything in the fridge – making “next-overs” (my sister’s term for “left-overs”) so that one dinner can be turned into several dinners.

    I wonder if these habits will stay with us when the world returns to normal.

    • I have never lived where I had access to a store easily. Always at least 10 minutes by car away, usually more like 20 or 30. As I hate ‘running out’ – both in the sense of leaving the house and in not having what I need, I have always been a menu / list person. For my 2 week shop (when I don’t have my own veggies in the cellar) I plan on fresh the 1st week and frozen the second.

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