New research published this week by American agribusiness and food company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) shows that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to six major changes in consumer behavior.
Broadly, the ADM OutsideVoice research found that 77% of consumers plan to increase their efforts to stay healthy in the future. The company said that finding suggests that food and beverage manufacturers will have to create products that both meet consumers’ need for healthy options and are affordable.
“Consumers’ attitudes, priorities and behaviors are shifting significantly,” Ana Ferrell, vice president of marketing for ADM, said in a company release. “This evolution is producing a unique opportunity for forward-looking food and beverage companies to bring a suite of trailblazing new products to market.”
The trends include:
- Increasing Focus on Gut Health and Immune Function Connection
ADM found that 57% of respondents said they have more concerns about immunity due to the coronavirus. Consumers are increasingly seeking out information on how the microbiome impacts the immune system and general wellbeing.
- Plant-Based Becomes Mainstream
Of those who bought alternative proteins in the US during the pandemic, 18% were first time buyers. Among that group, 92% said they will purchase meat alternatives again in the future. 80% of consumers surveyed in Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands plan to continue consumption of plant-based proteins after the pandemic ends.
- A New Perspective on Weight Management and Metabolic Health
The market for functional solutions that address metabolic wellness and weight management concerns may take off as people become increasingly worry about the disease’s impacts on those with health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. 51% of respondents reported concerns about being less active or putting on pounds during the pandemic.
- Finding Balance: Self Care, Emotional Wellbeing and Nutrition
The ongoing coronavirus crisis is fueling anxiety and stress for many people around the world. 35% of those surveyed by ADM said they are concerned about their mental health. While some will turn to comfort foods or indulgent treats, others are balancing indulgence with good nutrition habits and weight management efforts.
- Nutrition, It’s Personal
ADM predicts demand for personalized health and wellness solutions will accelerate in the coming months as more people become aware of their individual risk factors. Nearly 50% of consumers said each person requires an individualized, custom approach to diet and exercise.
- A Shift in Shopping Values
Spending on health and wellness products is likely to grow during the pandemic because of increased interest in health. At the same time, economic turbulence is leading consumers to opt for value-based shopping behaviors, like shopping more frequently at value retailers or purchasing private label brands instead of major brands.
ADM posits that these trends will continue to play a role in the food and beverage industry following the end of the COVID-19 crisis.