Study finds coronavirus pandemic has driven consumer drive for confectionery and snacks

A major public study on buying behaviour has found that with high levels of uncertainty from a health and financial perspective and restrictions on movement has prompted a key upturn in confectionery and snacks consumption.

The research, from FMCG Gurus, asked a total of 23,000 consumers across 17 countries for their views on how coronavirus had impacted on their eating habits.

Its results found a key trend for stocking up on treats such as chocolate and sugar confectionery to help address mental wellbeing and to compensate for fewer out-of-home indulgence occasions. The products that will benefit most from this are those that are able to offer taste and nutrition at the same time

In the new study, FMCG Gurus surveyed consumers across eighteen countries about how coronavirus was shaping their day-to-day behaviour. The results show that across the globe, a total of 73% of consumers say that they are concerned about coronavirus.

These concerns relate to the impact that the virus could have on health (84%) as well as the economy (56%). While much attention has been given to the impact that COVID-19 has on physical health, it is also adversely affecting the mental wellbeing of consumers.

For instance, 36% of consumers say that they are now more conscious about their mental health as a result of the virus. Mental wellbeing will have been impacted by a variety of concerns such as the health and wellbeing of loved ones, when restrictions on movement will be lifted and the ability to pay bills over the next twelve months. The fact that 63% of consumers believe the world is heading towards recession shows that worries about finance will be common this year.

This is something that is shaping consumption habits across the globe. Indeed, whilst 45% of consumers say that they have looked to reduce spend on grocery bills, 39% of consumers say that they have snacked more in the last month, whilst 55% say that they have sought out foods that help improve the mood more frequently over the same time period.

This explains why 38% say that they have increased the amount of chocolate they have purchased over the last month, whilst 36% say this when it comes to sugar confectionery. The research shows that whilst consumers are conscious about their food and drink spend overall, they are more than willing to make non-essential purchases for comfort and escapism reasons.

While moments of comfort and escapism are something that will appeal to consumers in the short-term to help deal with the uncertainty of day-to-day life, consumers realise that there are negative implications associated with this. For instance, a total of 21% of consumers say that they have become more conscious about their weight during the pandemic.

This highlights how consumers are demonstrating polarising issues when it comes to snacking, wanting to enjoy moments of indulgence but wanting to avoid these occasions conflicting with health and weight management goals. As such, snacks that can offer taste and nutrition at the same time and without the perception of trade-off will be of high appeal to consumers in 2020 and beyond.


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