How Pandemic has Changed the way we Eat

The world was excited for the beginning of a new decade. Come 2020, and we know how it turned out to be. This year has been a drill. But just as everything else, the year has had its’ own fair share of pros and cons. I get that it is difficult to count the pros here but we only need to look at it, from a different point of view.

The pandemic took a toll on our physical and mental health but it has given us learnings of a lifetime. We are now able to understand the importance of the smallest things in life, we know how to introspect better and we know that in order to make things better, its’ upon us to see through them in a reasonable and realistic way. Every small thing has been affected due to the pandemic. 

As Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”. With the pandemic, we have learned to accept and endure change. 

The way we talk, go out, behave, eat, and do everything has changed. The world we knew earlier, does not exist anymore. Let’s get into specifics about how the pandemic has changed the way we eat.

While it stands true that food is a necessity, a portion of the world population counts food as a blessing. For the rest of us, we almost always took it for granted. I remember throwing and bearing tantrums for food, I remember when we took the liberty of choosing what to eat for granted! And bang! Most of all, I remember the anticipation that ran through my veins and gave me goosebumps when I heard the honorable Prime Minister announce the first lockdown for 21 days. Grocery lists and scenes of my refrigerator started flashing before my eyes. Do you recall how people used to line up for groceries? 

Consumers:

But what exactly changed? We got robbed of the choice of selecting what to eat. Many individuals who hadn’t done so before, were compelled to learn to cook. We learned how to manage with the bare minimum. We also learned to never take food or people who cook for us, for granted. 

Our social media accounts were flooded with people posting the pictures of dishes they cook and speaking fondly of how they miss their favorite dishes from cafes/ restaurants or street vendors. The hashtag #lockdowncooking has over 188K listed posts on Instagram. #quarantinecooking has 722K+ listed posts.

The consumer side learned a lot of things and responded to the situation with nostalgia and gratefulness. 

Consumption Patterns:

  • Consumers learned to use affordable pantry staples and make healthy, delicious meals from those.
  • People all over the world started prioritizing ‘health’ over ‘taste’ for their meals.
  • As a result of rumors linking the virus to poultry, chickens were culled.
  • There was a significant reduction in food wastage at the post-purchase stage.
  • Dependency on local food supply chains surged.
  • Immunity became the new it-word.
  • Consumption of Vitamin- C rich foods increased.
  • There was an evident shift towards plant-based diets.

No doubt, we have millions of Youtube videos out there to learn recipes from but we will all agree that it’s not an easy task at hand. Moreover, a major concern arises when we do not have the liberty to go out and shop for groceries required.

The increase in demand and the decrease in supply helped us experience the deadly reality and the possibility of a food crisis. Prices surged to an unexpected level and as a result, the food consumption patterns of people shifted from luxury to minimal consumption. 

So, just like it works wonders every time, kindness and humanity came to rescue at first. Many people from tiffin delivery services started sharing on social media that they could arrange food for those in need and get it delivered. Here’s an example of the same:

Let’s talk about how the seller side responded to this scenario.

Sellers:

With the fear of going to the grocery stores frequently, people resorted to online grocery shopping. E- grocery retailers experienced a hike in orders. Managing to get a delivery slot on Big Basket felt nothing short of a miracle. Click here to read in detail about How Big Basket managed a 900% spike in orders with minimal staff. 

Apart from that local NGOs, global food chains, and the police came together to distribute food packets to those in need. 

Famous chefs and food bloggers worked on helping people with their skills. Social media platforms witnessed a surge in food recipe videos and posts being shared. They started sharing simple recipe videos and food hacks. 

Many restaurants and cafes also started doing this. 

Burger King shared the recipe of their famous Whooper so that people could cook it on their own. 

Another interesting thing we observed is how the ‘Ready-to-eat’ meals market boomed in India. Considering the sales figures, iD Fresh Food saw a 60% rise in paratha sales as compared to the last quarter. Licious, the meat products and seafood brand witnessed a more than 300% increase in sales for ready to eat meat spreads. 

R.S Sodi, the Managing Director of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, discussed that Amul is setting up a new production facility for manufacturing ready-to-eat items. Until now, those were partly manufactured by third parties. 

Brands and Restaurants came up with new product offerings, suitable for the situation. 

Tata introduced the brand ‘Tata Q’ which deals in Quick Cuisines (here- quisines). They offer ready-to-eat meal packages across different cuisines. 

Many restaurants introduced the concept of ‘Meal kits’. These comprise a package wherein the ingredients and instructions to cook a specific dish are provided, handy for the customers. The famous Indian Chef, Sanjeev Kapoor also launched ‘KitFresh’ Meals Kit, under his venture KSK foods. 

Brands such as Chef’s Basket and Veeba also took advantage and came up with a diverse product range. Veeba introduced a new line- ‘Veeba Chef’, a range of ready-to-cook gravies and curries. 

Interesting Things To Check Out:

The new social platform- ‘Isolation Cooks’.

This new venture- ‘India Meal Kit’.

This Writeup that reminds us to always be thankful for the food that we get – By Kusha Kapila

Now, more than ever, it is time for us to be mindful of what we eat and how we eat it.

What has changed about your way of consumption? Let us know! 

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