Post-Pandemic Consumer Grocery Trends

From panic-buying in early 2020 to shifting brand loyalties in 2022, the global pandemic has fundamentally changed how people shop for groceries. Many consumers were forced to change their shopping attitudes and refocus on the essentials at the height of the health crisis, often prioritizing healthy, immune-boosting foods. New market research suggests that many pandemic shopping habits are here to stay.
The Growth of Online Shopping
A recent Adobe study1 found that monthly online grocery shopping has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic. Consumers now spend an average of $6.7 billion on online grocery shopping each month, up from $3.1 billion pre-pandemic.
The popularity of online shopping spiked during the global lockdowns of 2020 when in-person shopping was challenging or impossible. Many analysts believe this buying habit is here to stay, creating a new hybrid shopper that benefits from both digital and in-store marketing. Many consumers may shop online to save time, compare prices, and avoid busy grocery stores, and another study2 suggests that e-commerce will account for 20% of all grocery purchases in the US by 2026.
Meal Kits and Pre-Made Dinners
Many consumers turned to pre-made dinners and meal kits during the lockdown to help them make tastier meals from home. International travel has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, and meal kits allow people to experiment with exotic flavors without restocking their entire spice racks. These meals are often packed with fresh produce and whole spices, supporting the new interest in healthy eating sparked by the health crisis. They also make for a simpler, faster cooking process, allowing people to make complex meals after a busy workday and achieve the work-life balance they were missing during the pandemic.
Convenience Meals
The pandemic generated interest in healthy convenience foods that can support work-from-home snacking without compromising on nutrition. As more consumers return to pre-pandemic activities, such as sports, busier lifestyles call for convenient foods ideal for eating on the go. A recent study by retail data science giant 84.51° notes an increase in meat snacks and rice cakes sales as people return to the new normal with an appreciation for healthy eating. Plant-based and sugar-free snacks are also dominating the post-pandemic convenience market.
While convenience meal sales may rise, many shoppers say snacks would be the first item they would scratch off their grocery lists to cut costs amid soaring inflation.
Price-Sensitive Shopping
“The US economy” was the number one COVID-19-related concern in a recent McKinsey study3. The pandemic had severe economic impacts, leaving many people with less disposable income and more sensitive to grocery price hikes. Furthermore, rising inflation and global supply chain issues drive many shoppers to switch to more affordable brands and private-label products.
Many consumers bought whatever groceries they could find during the shortages of the pandemic, eliminating brand loyalty and helping people try new brands. This behavior remains prevalent in a post-pandemic world where affordability is a key consideration for US shoppers. Food and beverage brands should adapt their marketing strategies to attract new customers by communicating value.
The pandemic shaped society’s social, economic, and cultural aspects, changing how people think about, prepare, consume, and shop for food. Many post-pandemic grocery trends focus on eating convenient, healthy food at an affordable price. Consumer brands can use these insights to attract more customers and drive sales in a post-pandemic economy. Advanced Biotech enjoys sharing current trends and industry news in the food and beverage sectors. Please contact us for more information.