The past 12 months have transformed the landscape for many industries, but the impact of the pandemic on consumer attitudes towards food and drink has been profound.
Research from European bakery expert St Pierre reported that 55 percent of the population have enjoyed not having the pressure of being somewhere at a specific time, with 35 percent agreeing that lockdowns have made them "live slower."
A third believe that their "general concept of time" has altered as a result of the pandemic and as such, for 47 percent, time-keeping around meal times has shifted.
To celebrate St Pierre’s National Brioche Day on May 14, the ‘St Pierre Moments’ research has highlighted a number of key areas for the food and drink industry. More than a quarter of US adults (30 percent) are snacking more often during the day, whilst 35 percent have abandoned "traditional" mealtimes.
The shift in consumer behavior around meal times means shoppers are looking, more than ever, for versatile products that can work for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As such, sales of America’s number one brioche brand are up 48 percent year on year, with 43 percent of brioche consumers saying they opt for the enriched French dough because of its versatility.
Paul Baker, founder of St Pierre Bakery comments, “The past year has definitely made the nation live ‘slower’ and find joy in the smaller things like indulging in a favorite food. With life starting to open up, people might start to put less pressure on timekeeping and just embrace the social moments."
Breakfast has been most transformed by slower living, with 28 percent eating the first meal of the day later than pre-pandemic. The knock-on impact has pushed back lunch and evening meals (26 and 28 percent) and driven an adoption of brunch for 28 per cent of Americans.
Brunch, as a meal occasion, was already on the up, but with consumers working from home and spending more on food shopping, its growth has continued at pace—as an opportunity to elevate the everyday menu.
“This insight is useful for food and drink businesses and restaurants in particular because it reaffirms what we already suspected—that food has played a greater part in our day-to-day in the past year, than it ever has before. In fact, 63 percent of Americans are spending more each week on their food shop now than pre-pandemic. But what’s even more interesting is what people are spending that money on.”
The increase in at-home cooking has driven the adoption of more exploratory flavor profiles which, in turn, has created new opportunities. The research revealed that one in three US adults have signed up to a subscription box in a bid to keep their menu exciting, whilst a further 24 per cent have taken advantage of entrepreneurial restaurateurs pivoting business to produce meal kit boxes.
Baker added “The nation has been eager to find new ways to relax and enjoy themselves throughout COVID restrictions; consumers have been looking to try something new that transports them to a favorite restaurant or overseas holiday. St Pierre products help to ‘make everyday magnifique’ because, as this research shows, taking time to enjoy good food is a joy to be shared. We’ve got a host of new recipes for National Brioche Day to encourage people to make the most of living slower and get together with great food.”
The research was commissioned via OnePoll and was carried out in the US and the UK to help consumers make the most of a renewed love of food, ahead of National Brioche Day on May 14.
For more information and insight from the research, head to www.nationalbriocheday.com.