US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

Pandemic-Era Home Cooking: Consumers Are Searching for Convenience & Ways To Stretch Food Budget; Some Answers Lie in Packaging

As 76% of respondents to The Freedonia Group National Online Consumer Survey (conducted February – March 2021) noted, people are still less likely to be eating in a restaurant because of the coronavirus pandemic. That means that we are still mostly cooking at home. After a year of doing more home cooking than normal, a lot of consumers are looking for short cuts…anything that makes preparing a meal, especially if it is a new food option, easier.

Similarly, the pandemic era also has changed how we think about food waste. For instance, 59% of respondents to the same survey noted that they were more conscious of not wasting food because of the coronavirus pandemic. Factors include:

  • Consumers seeing their budgets tighten and wanting to watch their food spending – 38% of respondents to this recent survey noted that they still have reduced work hours (voluntarily or involuntarily) and 56% of respondents noted that they were still cutting back on spending because of the pandemic.
  • Consumers wanting to minimize trips to the stores – 54% of respondents on this recent survey noted they were still spending less time shopping in brick-and-mortar stores because of the pandemic.

This presents opportunities for packaged food companies and for packaging companies, including:

  • Convenient preparation: 54% of respondents to the November – December edition of the survey indicated that microwave cook-in packaging was a high or medium priority when shopping for food. Microwaveable pouches allow home cooks to quickly add elements such as rice, quinoa, pasta, beans, and tuna to a dish as an ingredient or as a standalone part of a meal.
  • Food protection: 76% of respondents to the November – December edition of the survey indicated that packaging that extends shelf life was a high or medium priority when shopping for food. Such packaging not only allows customers to stretch their food budget by limiting waste, but it also allows food products to travel in e-commerce channels which have become increasingly popular during the pandemic.  

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including the packaging category with titles such as Pouches and Frozen Food Packaging. Related food and beverage industry analysis from our sister publisher, Packaged Facts, include Home Baking: US Market Trends & Opportunities, US Food Market Outlook 2020: Home Cooking, Grocery Shopping & Food Trends in the Age of Coronavirus, Global Food E-Commerce, and Online Grocery in the US. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Covid-19      Food & Beverage      Packaging