The Coronavirus pandemic turned the world on its side as everything from family gatherings to businesses closing their doors has changed everyday life. This, too, applies to the way people have been eating and drinking in response to COVID-19 and social distancing orders.
Pre-COVID, healthy eating trends were continuing to pick up as consumers were demanding more fresh, local food products, from produce to meats. Additionally, those looking to imbibe were paying closer attention to the amount of alcohol they were consuming. Lower alcohol-by-volume (ABV) sippers and mocktails were hitting mainstream. Dry bars, where no alcohol was served, were up-and-coming in some food scenes.
Now, according to FONA International, a company dedicated to creating and producing flavors for many of the largest food, beverage, and nutritional companies in the world, all of this has changed.
In a new Insights report from the company, comfort foods and “quarantinis” have topped the list of what people want in their pandemic kitchens.
Products that consumers once shied away from in hopes to eat healthier and slim their waistlines are being re-stocked in their pantries. According to Stackline, e-commerce sales of food categories that often provide consumers comfort are growing significantly in just one year. Growing categories include: cereal, chips and pretzels, popcorn, cookies, snack foods, and chocolate. Bread and pasta are the ultimate carb loading comfort foods and according to NPD, sales of bread machines are up 800% and pasta makers were pacing at three times their normal sales when compared to one year ago, the Insights report cited.
Additionally, cocktails are getting a boost as brands and restaurants are taking advantage of the budding creativity and curiosity of consumers. Boston-based mobile ordering app Drizly has seen a sales increase of 300% to 500% since January in cities such as Boston, Chicago and Seattle, and the average basket spend was about 30% above normal levels as reported by CSP Daily News, the Insights report cited.
Cocktail curbside pick-up has been booming as well, as many restaurants and bars are offering their signature cocktails in a to-go format. DIY Cocktail kits from local restaurants and bars, as well as online mixology classes, have aided in this continued trend as well.
Consumers have also ramped up use of the hashtag “#saturdaysareforsipping” on social media, showing off either the libations they’ve made at home or those they are drinking from their favorite neighborhood restaurants and bars.