How new consumer behaviours will change how we cook and eat

Our world is changing in ways we have yet fully to realise, from how governments work to how consumers behave. At The Value Engineers, we’re observing behaviour changes in our own lives and considering the impact they may have long term. Here’s one observation from us. What’s changing in your life? 

What I used to do: I’ve always been a big cook, but home cooking was complementary to my other great love: eating out in restaurants. I probably ate out 3-4 times a week on average; it’s part of my social life and a great way for me to travel the culinary world without leaving my neighbourhood. In the kitchen, I aspired to cook and eat seasonally, but in practice my greed for avocadoes and out of season strawberries would typically get the better of me. I’d become more interested in flexitarianism; watching my meat intake and upping the veg.

What I now do: Cooking has always been a source of mindfulness for me, but it is taking on another level as a welcome break from my working-from-home existence. Taking two hours for every supermarket trip is making me more resourceful with the food I already have; the spice rack has never been more utilised, and the endless tins and jars are finally being put to good use. I’ve pretty much given up trying to source flour in the supermarket (for my ill-fated attempt at a sourdough starter) but I’ve bought a 2kg pork belly from a local butcher who now does home delivery to cure my own bacon.

How could the category change in the future: The current situation has made us all more mindful about how we cook and eat. We anticipate the following three shifts in the category as the pandemic unfolds and its impact continues to be felt:

Shift towards seasonal: As imported foods become increasingly harder to come by, there will be an uptick in recipes catering to seasonal produce, and communications around the benefits of buying local. Specialist producers such as HG Walter are already experiencing high demand for home delivery, exposing more consumers to the quality benefits of choosing local.

Grow your own!:The mental wellbeing benefits of growing your own fruit and veg will lead to a new generation of growers. Artisan brands such as Hudson Seed Company, with their suitably millennial-friendly packaging are experiencing monumental demand for their seeds and Veseys Seeds have seen a 335% volume increases. Mindful gardening: good for your head, good for your dinner!

Acceleration of flexitarian: With the meat supply chain especially hit by panic-buying, more consumers are having to make do with meat alternatives. We expect the vegan/vegetarian movement will be given a further shot in the arm, encouraging more consumers to enjoy the benefits (both health and taste) of a flexitarian lifestyle. I’m excited to see how Unilever et al. will help drive this.

Categories: Premium FMCG

BY ENGINEER Tom Speed

tom.speed@thevalueengineers.com