The second wave of stockpiling that is for the ‘new essentials’, anything from cheap booze to fatty foods, is creating a bigger global trend in comfort eating and takeout.
In a time when 83% of the global population admit to being quite / extremely concerned by Covid-19 and a further 62% believe it will only get worse in their respective countries before it gets better, can you blame anyone for indulging on a little extra chocolate when streaming their favourite rom-com? Of course not, we are all in the same boat after all. The dangers, however, are that this reliance on typically unhealthy foods to put our minds at ease and stave off boredom could result in some serious global health issues.
It should be noted that this is not for all consumers. There has equally been a rise in home gym equipment and home cooking, which is generally perceived as healthier, as well as ‘positive movements’ like rooftop raves and dancing on balconies as communities’ support one another.
That said, much of the global population may be feeling disheartened and unmotivated, creating a cocooning effect in which they rely on familiar and indulgent foods to comfort themselves in a period of high stress and anxiety, foregoing previously highly prioritised health claims. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised this as an impending issue, and as such, launched the HealthyAtHome campaign, encouraging consumers to look after their mental and physical health via exercise, balanced diets and quitting smoking.
While in the immediate future, this results in high demand for overly indulgent foods and drinks, and even tobacco sales have benefitted as consumers seek immediate gains and stress-relief, there will certainly be a health-driven backlash in the long-term. Brands should take this slowdown to reassess their product lines and innovate for the long-term. Healthy indulgence trends will come back with a vengeance, as consumers may struggle to give up their vices garnered over the course of quarantining and thus demand ‘healthy’ comfort foods.
Following the end of Covid-19, we may also see a second wave of government-endorsed health initiatives, new and improved nutritious food labelling and increased online campaigns geared at informing and encouraging healthy lifestyles. Manufacturers should be aware of the advent of a new health craze, as consumers look for products that satisfy their desire for guilt-free eating.