Home cooking during the pandemic – How it’s created a new demand

Trends around the world have shown that home cooking and demand for basic ingredients have skyrocketed, right around the world. The reason for this sharp increase has been, in the majority, influenced by the movement and social restrictions caused by the current pandemic. Here’s why….

Consumer trends

Home Cooking throughout the pandemic has become a great way for families to connect, a way for people to spend their newfound extra time and add a nutritional boost to their daily lives. 

Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a change in how consumers purchase. Overall, consumers have switched their focus from quick easy purchases to foods that have an extended shelf life and surprisingly, a higher percentage of exotic ingredients have been introduced to everyday cooking. 

Research also shows that younger Australians have lead the increase in time spent online exploring food-based content, with IAB Australia reporting that ‘Australians aged 13-24 increased their time spent online with food and cooking content by 144%’ showing that cooking at home is just not centered around adults.

And not only have meals and the majority of eating moved to the home, it has led to an increase in the use of base ingredients like frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, flours and sugars, and away from recipe starters and packet meals. Now, with extra time for research and preparation, consumers are broadening the flavours they are using to cook and discovering new tastes and styles of cooking they may have not previously explored. 

Will this continue?

Once the world returns to the new normal will cooking at home and cooking for health still be a growing hobby for Australian families?

No doubt a huge number of people have been introduced to, or rediscovered the joy of, cooking at home. We will likely see a temporary resurgence into eating out as lockdown cease and businesses reopen and welcome customers to return to their favourite restaurants. 

But even with the rollout of vaccination programs and the world reopening, it is likely that these new habits will stick around. Here’s why; 

  • In a short time, education on nutrition, health and how viruses circulate has been a daily occurrence for the world’s population. Consumers know, now more than ever the role that nutrition and good food plays in their daily lives. 
  • Families have rediscovered their love for the family meal at home. Both time spent preparing the meal together and eating as a family the meal key components to the enjoyment factor and have helped people reconnect.
  • Cooking at home has led to new tastes being discovered and are likely to be continued to be used in home cooking more readily.
  • In recently survey conducted by HUNTER, Food Study Special Report Wave Two, 71% of survey participants intended on continuing home cooking to the same higher level after the pandemic ends. 
  • It’s enjoyable! A whole new generation discovering, and a large amount of people rediscovering, the enjoyment of cooking and baking.
  • Consumers have discovered the cost saving of home cooking against regularly buying take away meals or eating out. 

What does this mean for the food industry?

Throughout the pandemic, both demand and supply have had unprecedented challenges.

Reduced crop availability due to weather events, disturbance of picking and packing due to limited workforces, alongside fluctuations in market demand has resulted in a drastic reduction in the availability of some of our most popular imports. This large reduction in availability has also led to a steep increase in prices.

Shipping of goods has also been disrupted, with impacts of shutdowns, movement restrictions and increased demand for products all combining to create a backlog of goods being imported into Australia and a sharp rise in shipping costs. 

 The best way to combat these major disruptions is thru good planning so please do let us know about your supply challenges and your potential demand throughout 2021 and 2022. We can help you navigate and plan for the year ahead and provide additional information on availability, cost and the choices available to you.

Start a conversation with our team today.  Contact us on 02 4573 2555 or by email at [email protected].

Leave a Comment