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The Coronavirus Era: ‘Hometainment’ and the New Experiential Consumer in Food and Nutrition

September 2020

Celebrations are moving away from foodservice and festivals and back into homes. This creates opportunities for experiential foods in retail. Consumers have more time than before the pandemic, and many have started cooking, creating opportunities in ingredients and cooking concepts. Meanwhile, the economy is facing a big drop in real GDP, potentially leading to a polarisation in assortments towards the extremes – economy and premium – similar to that seen following the 2008 financial crisis.

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Key Findings

Coronavirus (COVID-19) leads to cancellation of key celebrations

The COVID-19 pandemic has directly impacted celebratory eating through the cancellation or forced smaller scale of celebrations around Easter, Eid and US Independence Day, to name a few key holidays, along with birthday celebrations, weddings, baptisms, workplace parties, etc. As social beings, however, consumers will always seek ways to celebrate these occasions.

Simultaneous growth in economy and premium

The impact on global real GDP in 2020 is set to be larger than in the 2008 financial crisis, and the COVID-19 crisis carries with it the added complexity of limits on travel and foodservice, meaning much experience-focused eating needs to be satisfied through retail instead. Lessons from 2008 tells us that both the price-focused and experience-focused food find opportunities during a recession.

More time for celebratory eating and preparation, as well as growing interest in home cooking

Both the increase in unemployment and the need for many to work from home will provide consumers with time savings. Consumers may thus have less need for convenience food when it comes to celebrations. Baking was very popular during lockdowns, and the skills acquired remain.

Limitations on travel and foodservice create need for substitutes at home

As foodservice suffers, we may see more partnerships between restaurants and retailers. With travel limited, we may expect more product concepts emulating exotic flavours and foreign experiences to enjoy at home.

Retail category assortments remain simplified

Summer-focused categories, like chilled processed meat and ice cream, are returning to the same retail SKU counts as in February 2019, while other categories remain streamlined. With some SKUs being found superfluous, brand owners may need to ensure that their ranges are adapted to the new needs of consumers.

Introduction

Scope
COVID-19 brings celebrations to the home, shifts consumption to retail

Celebrations as Hometainment

Shifts in celebrations is a particularly impactful hometainment trend
COVID-19 set to keep impacting key celebrations in the autumn

COVID-19 Factors Impacting Celebratory Eating: The Economic Effect

GDP slump greater than that of 2008 set to hurt consumer expenditure
Unemployment: COVID-19 is not impacting all workers equally

COVID-19 Factors Impacting Celebratory Eating: The Cook at Home Effect

“No time to cook” the leading worldwide barrier to cooking pre-COVID
Unemployment and working from home gives consumers more time
Working from home set to be one of the few permanent changes
Interest in home cooking fading, but effect on sales may yet remain
Oikos Greek yoghurt in Canada taps into home-cooking trend

COVID-19 Factors Impacting Celebratory Eating: The Channel Shift Effect

Cash-strapped consumers may regard premium retail foods as a saving
Travel restrictions lead consumers to seek substitute experiences
Much speak for maintained popularity of home delivery for celebrations

Online Assortment Analysis

COVID-19-related restrictions impact sales of large cakes and pies
Assortment sizes returning to normal; streamlining effect remains

Outlook

Baking ingredients stand to gain long term from new baking habits
New pockets of potential for celebratory eating as hometainment
Forecast: more parties, home parties, smaller parties, simpler parties

Appendix

About Via Online Tracking from Euromonitor International
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