How we eat now: consumer insights to act on

Consumer insights for the food industry

(Image to the left captured for Meatless Farm).

Restaurants have re-opened and shoppers are free to explore the aisles, but have our purchasing and dining habits changed for good over the last 12 months? We surveyed consumers across the UK to ask how they’re eating now, delivering valuable insight for hospitality and FMCG brands.  

Showcase sustainability

We’re all trying that bit harder to do our bit for the planet. 58% of people said their views on sustainable eating have changed for the better over the last year which means they’re changing their habits too. During lockdown 44.6% of people said they’d cut down on food waste, while 28.3% told us they were cooking up more plant-based meals.

For brands, this means a focus on sustainability – within their narrative, ethos, product ranges and most importantly, packaging. 47.8% of people said they’d prefer to see details of environmental credentials clearly displayed on-pack, so this should be front and centre on the shelves.

Take pride in provenance

A big part of shopping sustainably is putting local produce at the top of the list. Our survey showed:

  • 84.9% of people prefer to purchase local or British-sourced produce
  • 10.2% of people already do their weekly shop at local artisan food stores
  • 67% of people think it’s financially viable to buy locally sourced produce for their household

Consumers care about where their product comes from. Local provenance is a powerful part of a brand story, it shows buyers that sustainability is at the heart of what you do and creates an identity people can really connect with. 

Deliver a warm, reassuring welcome

Eating out is back on the menu so we asked consumers how they’re feeling about dining at restaurants. While 57.2% said they intend to visit 1-2 times a week now restrictions have been lifted, 39.1% said they never intend to dine out, proving that many still have reservations. To support this cautious audience, hospitality businesses can put details of safety measures at the forefront of their content and capture audiences by focusing on lost time with friends and family.

Back at home, many shoppers have been bringing the treat of a restaurant experience to their own table. 56% of people purchased luxury food and drink items as part of their weekly shop during lockdown and plan to keep this up – showing a real appetite for premium products.

Inspire your buyer

Whether people are wary or not, it’s impossible to eat out all the time and many of us are in need of a little cooking inspiration. More than half our respondents said lockdown hadn’t made them more creative in the kitchen and similar numbers (52.2%) would prefer to see recipes on their favourite food packaging. Consumers are looking to brands for new ideas on what to eat, so recipe ideas and ‘how-to’ content is great to get the sparks flying.

For the full research findings, download here.

Contact the team and we’ll help you create a marketing plan with these valuable insights in mind.

Thoughts from the Eat & Breathe kitchen

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