Should I stay in or should I eat out? 😷Aug 16, 2022
A new study examines the food habits of Americans during different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and the creation of vaccines. Besides revealing interesting information on the restaurant and grocery industry, it also illustrates how people behave in a time of crisis – and how to prepare for the next one!
- The results indicate a rising class of hybrid shoppers who buy food both in person and online – with online shopping being complementary rather than a substitution for the former. So grocers have to examine their strategies and adapt them for the scenario.
The researchers analyzed eight food acquisition activities from survey responses received during three different periods – in relation to case rates and vaccine availability – throughout 2020 and 2021.
- One surprising finding: in-person grocery shopping remained extremely common throughout the pandemic. That’s because people like looking at the food and seeing what’s in season. Don’t you?
- Activities requiring less in-person contact increased from December 2020 into 2021, likely because of the surge in cases.
- Americans increased their expenditures on takeout ordering and about 80% of full-service restaurants added curbside pickup options.
- The rate of indoor dining increased across these time periods, while outdoor dining experienced a consistent decline.
- The youngest survey participants were significantly more likely to eat at a restaurant, both indoors and outdoors.
The researchers state that restaurants need to find ways to make people comfortable – and feel safe – coming back to restaurants, and market themselves to those most willing to dine out. They also highlight that everybody has feelings about grocery shopping, and this provides an opportunity to understand our culture and society.