Acosta: Consumers split on attitudes towards eating and cooking at home

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages / Lyndon Stratford
©GettyImages / Lyndon Stratford

Related tags Acosta coronavirus

Coronavirus has forced many consumers to get comfortable eating and cooking at home for most meals, and while some are rediscovering their love for cooking, others have grown tired of the routine, according to an Acosta survey.

Acosta's report​ conducted between July 8 and July 15, 2020 found that more than half of shoppers surveyed (55%) are eating at home more often since the pandemic began with 44% eating breakfast at home every day (compared to 33% pre-COVID); 31% are eating lunch at home every day (18% pre-COVID), and 33% are eating dinner at home on daily basis (compared to 21% pre-COVID).

Of those shoppers surveyed, 25% indicated that they are sick of having to cook more, while 35% have found a new passion for cooking during the pandemic. 

"The biggest challenges shoppers reported when meal planning are: grocery shopping because of the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in public (45%); planning different meals every day (40%); lacking a food/ingredient needed to make a meal (38%); and improving cooking skills (17%),"​ Acosta noted in the report. 

“The implications of staying at home and reduced commutes are far reaching and jolted channel trends. Other trends, like e-commerce, have been accelerated, with online food, beverage and alcohol spend expected to increase 30% this year,”​ stated Colin Stewart, EVP, business intelligence at Acosta.

Post-COVID-19 and dining predictions

As restrictions ease on dining out at restaurants and other food service establishments, many diners anticipate eating out less than before or not at all even after the pandemic is over. 

According to Acosta's consumer research, 29% of shoppers plan to eat dinner out less often or not at all, 33% of shoppers plan to eat lunch out less often or not at all, and 47% of shoppers plan to eat breakfast out less often or not at all. 

"Of shoppers who anticipate eating out less often or not at all, the top reasons are concerns about the effects of COVID-19 and to save money,"​ reported Acosta. 

"Foodservice sales surpassed retail food & beverage sales in 2015 and were expected to continue to gain share, until the pandemic hit. Now, even the best-case scenario for foodservice will end the year in the red," ​commented Stewart.

Acosta makes a number of suggestions to capitalize on consumers' evolving food shopping and consumption trends, including focusing on the power of partnerships between foodservice brands to bring chef-forward ideas into retail to inspire and provide meal time solutions for consumers while satisfying consumers' desire to feel like they're dining out.

“With more than half of consumers eating at home more often and some with less money to spend, there are a myriad of challenges and opportunities for retailers and manufacturers to navigate,”​ added Stewart.

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