How COVID-19 Has Changed Our Relationship With Food

The relationship between consumers and food has changed significantly due to the COVID-19 lockdown, according to a new poll by New York-based agency Oberland market research platform Suzy. 

The poll reveals what the firms call a “dramatic rise in intentionality surrounding Americans’ food and beverage choices.” The shift is due to the increase in stay-at-home time which has allowed consumers to more thoughtfully examine what they eat and drink, where they purchase food, and how they cultivate their meals. 

Among the key findings: 

  • Nearly a quarter (23%) of Americans have started growing food on their own since COVID-19 began.
  • There has been a three-fold increase in the number of men who grocery shop and cook for their households.
  • Approximately 50% of people want food and beverage brands to play a larger role in mealtime and want more recipes and meal ideas from brands—which presents an opportunity to better connect with consumers and increase market share.
  • 75% of respondents across income levels are ordering more take out to support local restaurants.
  • Nearly half of respondents are giving bigger tips to food-service professionals and shopping at local food businesses vs. mass markets. 
  • 68% of those surveyed now consider food and beverages a source of daily comfort in the absence of social interaction. 



“There’s been a huge rise in the ‘make it yourself’ food mentality,” said Drew Train, co-founder and president at Oberland. “As homebound consumers unable to eat out worked to fill long days with activities, mealtimes got a makeover.”

"Brands have a unique opportunity to encourage and support this attitudinal shift and build relationships with consumers that run deeper than just their categories," Train added. 

And with more men stepping up for kitchen and shopping duties brands should adjust messaging accordingly. 

“And, hopefully dad isn't just cooking more," Train says, "but doing other household tasks as well, and gaining some empathy and insight into what life has been like for others in the family all these years. Hopefully COVID will spark a transition in more traditional gender roles than just cooking and food."  

The study polled 1,000 respondents, ages 18-65, in households with incomes between $35,000 and $150,000.

See more on the study here.

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