Studies reveal consumer trend for upturn in snacks and chocolate markets

The ongoing global coronavirus crisis is significantly influencing day-to-day behaviour of consumers, including driving a key upturn within the snacks sector, according to research from FMCG Gurus.

As the organisation noted to Confectionery Production, from its studies based on interviews with 23,000 people around the world, a total of 50% said they were consuming more items within the snack category amid the pandemic.

This also included a greater level of chocolate being consumed, with shoppers seemingly turning in greater numbers to comfort foods during times of heightened anxiety and uncertainty.

A notable consequence of the virus for many shoppers is that a recession is inevitable, something that will significantly reduce their financial confidence and prompt change when it comes to their shopping habits. Despite this, the sugar confectionery and chocolate categories are showing resistance to consumers looking to tighten their purse strings. This is because even in times of heightened financial sensitivity, consumers continue to seek out moments of small indulgence for escapism purposes.

Irrespective of the much-discussed curve being flattened and restrictions on movement being lifted, consumers continue to believe that COVID-19 will continue to impact their daily lives.

Indeed, research conducted in May 2020 found that 51% of consumers believe that it is something that will impact daily lives, up slightly from 48% from a month earlier. Whilst consumers are concerned about their health, they are also concerned about the economy.

In May, a total of 72% of consumers said that they believed the world was heading to recession, a noticeable increase compared to the 63% who said this a month earlier. This is somewhat problematic, given that only 28% of households say that they have savings to deal with a downturn in the economy (26% in April).

As a result, consumers will look to adjust their shopping habits to make their money go further. This is especially true given that even before the pandemic, many were struggling with daily living costs. In May 2020, a total of 52% said that they had looked to reduce spend on food and drink in the last month.

Again, this was a noticeable increase compared to the 45% who said this a month earlier, showing how concerns about the direction of the economy are impacting on confidence. When it comes to making grocery spend go further, there are many steps that consumers will look to take, such as switching between retailers, purchasing more private label, and making conscious efforts to avoid food waste. However, they are not necessarily cutting down spend on non-essentials.

FMCG Gurus research for instance shows that in May 2020, a total of 50% of consumers said that they were snacking more, compared to 38% who said this a month earlier. Meanwhile, 60% of consumers said that they have bought more comfort food like confectionery in the last month (56%).

Finally, in May 2020, consumers were more likely to say that they had increased – rather than reduced – their purchasing of chocolate (37% versus 26%) and sugar confectionery (34% versus 27%). The reality is that irrespective of any concerns towards the economy, consumers will continue to turn to comfort products that offer moments of indulgence and escapism. This is something that will help make the confectionery industry more resistant to any economic downturn throughout the year.

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