The pandemic has permanently changed our relationship with food.
Waitrose’s Annual food and drink survey has found thatthat what we eat has grown in importance to us over 2020,and this trend is set to continue.
As the rhythm of everyday life became repetitive over the long lockdown, we started using food to punctuate and invigorate our days. This has stuck. Our mealtime rituals have become more meaningful. What we eat is now a hot topic of daily conversation. And with
millions of us working from home, cooking has become the new commute.
Of the tens of millions of us who’ve spent the majority of the year working from home, three-quarters say cooking dinner now provides the break between working time and home life. Where once the journey from the office to the front door would punctuate the day, that role is now being fulfilled by time spent at the chopping board.
The pandemic has significantly changed how we shop, with many of us now relying on online food deliveries. The research found that a quarter of us bought food online for the first time this year, with the highest uptake being among people under 35. This trend looks likely to stick, with a huge 69% of people who shopped for food online during the pandemic planning to continue doing so.
Homegrown produce is the preference, bolstered by growing awareness over provenance and farming standards from overseas and a desire to support our nation’s farmers. This trend extends to British seafood where sales have tripled over the last six months.
Meanwhile from blackberries to sloes, many of us are foraging again, with UK social media interest up 89% on the year. This is likely due to it’s family-friendly nature – it’s healthy and fun, it keeps the children occupied, it happens outdoors and it comes with a large dollop of nostalgia.
Preserving, potting and pickling are growing trends, with searches for ‘pickling’ up +222% on Waitrose.com and UK social media mentions of preserving and fermenting are up by 28%.
Many of us used lockdown to drop our alcohol intake, and 18% plan to continue trying more low-alcohol or alcohol-free drinks or mocktails to reduce alcohol consumption. Low and no sales at Waitrose are up 22% on the year, with the range broadening to include further non-alcoholic versions of our favourite tipples
More home working has super-charged the trend for slow-cooked meat, with searches 46% up on waitrose.com and sales of oxtail up a hearty 258% while Versatile, foodie-friendly and with the ability to take us straight to Provence in a sip, pink is officially the drink for all seasons. Autumn 2020 sales were up 57% on the year with this trend set to grow for 2021.