Study finds increased drive towards both comfort confectionery and snacks during pandemic

A survey of US consumers has found that quarantine snacking during the coronavirus pandemic has seen wide variance in consumption between relishing in comfort food and enhanced diligence to healthier habits.

The American-headquartered Flavorchem group, specialising in flavours, essential oils and industry sweeteners, revealed some of the most prominent bakery and snack trends taking place during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As reported by the New York Times, the virus, which has so far claimed more than 80,000 lives in the US alone, has placed considerable strain on food supply chains around the world, with shoppers stockpiling essentials, as well as showing an increased awareness of healthier options. Some of the key findings of the study included:

Functional Foods: The heightened health awareness over coronavirus has many consumers seeking decadent better-for-you snacks that still provide nutritional benefit. Plant-based alternatives, herbs, and other functional ingredients with perceived health benefits are conventional snack aisle staples.

Anxiety Baking: DIY consumers are alleviating stress by sharpening their baking skills during these unprecedented times. Yeast, an ingredient commonly used to make bread and other bakery products, saw sales surge by 647% in the week ending March 21 compared to the same week in 2019. Online searches for homemade bread recipes hit nearly 900,000 views with banana bread being a staple pandemic treat.

Comfort Food Takes the Cake: As indulgent bakery sales continue to rise, 79% of consumers admit to purchasing more comfort food now than in previous months. Chocolate is still the top quarantine snack with 90% of shoppers purchasing some form of this treat in the last three months.

Childhood Indulgences: Nostalgic flavors, like cinnamon roll and smores, are gaining traction as consumers re-create experiences that they are not currently able to do. Backyard margaritas and homemade birthday cake creations will trend deep into summer.

Flavour Combinations: Salty snacks featuring confectionery coatings have recently seen a strong level of popularity, with caramel corn and chocolate covered popcorn remaining traditional favorites.

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