Lessons from the epidemic: What's next in diet and eating behavior?

Lessons from the epidemic: What’s next in diet and eating behavior?

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Symbol of changes brought about by the pandemic, 2021 Health and Wellness: Reimagining Wellbeing Amid COVID-19 The report found that as consumers experienced weight gain associated with the epidemic, they also expressed a renewed interest in dietary choices and the food itself not only as a key tool for weight management but also for the fundamental role it plays in health and wellness. Specifically, consumers say they use a number of different eating approaches (as unique as consumers themselves), including eating in an “intuitively healthy way” and striving for nutritional balance.

It makes sense: After months (now turned into years) of pandemic living, consumers are starting to rethink their approach to food by trying to get a better understanding of what goes into their food, adjust their calorie intake to changing lifestyles, and be more. Thoughtful about when to visit their store. Interestingly, when asked how their diet differs from what it was before the pandemic, 41% of consumers said it was “somewhat better or better.”

However, pandemic-affected shifts in consumers’ lives have altered needs and perceptions of diet and nutrition with consequent changes in the habits and context in which foods and beverages are consumed. Examples include:

Changing habits – preparing food at home: As consumers return to restaurants, the rise in Cooking at home has offered some consumers a new degree of control and choice when it comes to “clean eating.” especially, Home-cooked meals tend to have a healthy aura, but some consumers report that portion control is a challenge that can undermine the health benefits. The pandemic has certainly invigorated greater interests in cooking: Health and Wellness 2021 found that 37% of consumers said they had started or increased cooking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changing contexts – home stores always at hand: While some are back in the office, consumers who work at home spend most of the day with pantries stocked for the pandemic. Plus, the commutes and scheduled vacations that marked the day have gone by the wayside for some. With fewer barriers to eating at any one time, consumers feel the need to be vigilant eaters. Echoing the problems with changing eating contexts, among consumers who believed their health worsened during 2020, Health and Wellness Program 2021 reports that 23% said that constant access to their inventory made it difficult for them to stay healthy.

Changing habits and contexts have led consumers to say they also aspire to eat food with consistency in their approach. While the majority of consumers (58%) claim to prefer a disciplined and consistent diet (more than fun and variety), there may be an ambitious side to this approach. Trends associated with these changing habits and contexts include:

  • Frequent home cooking has brought many consumers closer to the individual ingredients in their meals, seeking less processed options and essential nutrients from food: fiber, protein, calcium, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. The Health and Wellness Program 2021 also found that a renewed focus on the immune benefits of vitamin D and the potential ability to protect against severe COVID-19 symptoms has made this nutrient a top consumer priority for diet inclusion.
  • On the other hand, sugar and sodium remain at the top of the consumer blacklist. However, consumers are finding ways to incorporate sweetness into their eating and drinking routine through event management and access to more healthy sweetener options.
  • Focus on Gut Health: Recent Trends report “Ideas in Food” analyzes how the trend for digestive wellness is deepening, and consumer awareness of the microbiome as the root of all wellness and its relationship to our mental well-being and immunity is expected. On a larger scale.

looking forward

An increasing number of consumers are looking for plant-based (rather than meat-free) diets. But while consumer searches for vegan labels have become prevalent in recent years, growing concern about ingredients and processing levels for these products—particularly plant-based meat alternatives—is now sending more discerning consumers in search of simpler, purer alternatives.

The meaning of diet (and changes in eating behavior) is one of the topics we are examining in our new study Modern Approaches to Eating 2022 Which examines the general landscape of eating approaches and specific diets today. One preliminary finding: In terms of meaning, the word “diet” today, while culturally associated with strong connotations of control and restriction, tends to be used by a relatively small number of consumers when describing their eating styles compared to a greater number who say they have some kind of conscious approach. And deliberate to eat.

With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in shifts in consumer needs, tactics, and contexts related to food, diet, and physical activity, approaches to nutrition and eating are evolving. Consumers continue to avoid many of the same labels of processed foods, but the increased involvement in cooking during the pandemic is likely to intensify scrutiny of ingredient plates in the near term, and possibly longer.

Consumers are acknowledging their role in indulging their relationship with food and coping strategies with COVID-19 – but several months into the pandemic, they are also becoming more aware of the impact of less intentional eating approaches. Retailers and manufacturers should consider increased consumer awareness of processed and sugar-laden products in Fresh Ocean as they evaluate contexts and frames of reference for individual brands as well as the overall experience and perception that consumers have in store.

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As CEO of a company Hartmann GroupDemerit drives the vision, strategy, operations, and results-oriented culture of the company’s partners as the Hartmann Group advances its offerings in tactical thinking, consumer and market intelligence, cultural efficiency, and innovative intellectual capital in the global marketplace.

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