• How Has Covid Affected the Plant-Based Industry 12 Months Later?



    After 12 months, COVID-19 is still having a major impact on consumers attitudes and behaviours in the food and beverage market. Although concern towards the virus has slightly decreased, consumers are still suggesting that the pandemic has shaped the way they will look at their dietary habits for the future. 

    COVID-19 has had a significant impact on consumer lives and how they go about their day-to-day activities. One key factor it has impacted is the way consumers look at their diets. Yes, consumers were already showing signs of looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle, however the pandemic has highlighted this process and brought it to the forefront of consumer minds.

    woman using antibacterial gel on hands before start to eating her healthy food in tropical asian cafe . smoothie bowl , raw cake and coffee on table with sanitizer on bottle
    ©Юрий Красильников@stock.adobe.com

    FMCG Gurus consumer insights show that in February 2021, 76% of global consumers stated they plan to eat and drink more healthily as a result of the virus. This shows a 3% increase from April of 2020. This will be linked to many consumers being concerned about their immune health, weight levels, and current lifestyles in general, and will believe that improving dietary patterns is an effective way of boosting overall levels of health.

    One way in which consumers are looking to maintain a healthier diet is to start eating more plant-based foods and beverages. The research shows that in February 2021 27% of global consumer state they look to include more plant-based food as a result of COVID-19. This has had a significant increase of 9% from 18% of consumers in April 2020.

    This suggests that interest in plant-based food and drink was not a knee jerk reaction to issues such as concerns over animal welfare. Instead, the growing appeal of plant-based food and drink aligns with the growing flexitarian movement, with consumers making conscious efforts to either eliminate or reduce their intake of meat and/or dairy for health purposes.

    woman using antibacterial gel on hands before start to eating her healthy food in tropical asian cafe . smoothie bowl , raw cake and coffee on table with sanitizer on bottle
    ©Юрий Красильников@stock.adobe.com

    Consumers who say that they are planning to increase their intake of plant-based food and drink are most likely to say that they are doing so for health purposes as 65% of these consumers state they believe plant-based foods are healthier for them. As such, products that are deemed to be green and clean will continue to be of high appeal to consumers, especially if they associate such products with offering a convenient health boost.

    However, as the popularity of plant-based products continues to grow, brands should look to address some of the concerns associated with these types of groceries, such as worries over taste, texture, and price, in order to encourage more consumers to the market.

    This article is based on FMCG Gurus: How Has COVID-19 Changed Consumer Behaviour – Global Report. For more information contact [email protected]

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