Photo: Colourbox

Consumer trends in the aftermath of Covid

COVID-19 has triggered new consumer patterns. Health, self-indulgence and safety have come to the forefront of consumers’ minds during the pandemic. Moreover, in the aftermath of Covid it seems that health will continue to be a matter of concern while the climate and sustainability will become important issues. What will consumer attitudes to pork and pig meat be in the coming years?

Danish consumer shopping habits have changed during the pandemic. Fewer people eat out and shopping trolleys have been supplanted by digital alternatives where daily necessities and meals – meal boxes and takeaways - are delivered to the door. Food experiences are taking up more space in consumers’ daily lives and there is greater focus on preventive health and food quality.

Need for peace of mind increases awareness of food safety
Quality, taste and price will always matter greatly to consumers. In the wake of the pandemic, in addition to these important criteria, the need for reassurance will continue to play a part – which is why, when shopping, consumers will wish to be informed about food safety, certifications, quality and production origin.

Read also: COVID-19: Values and consumers on the move

Spotlight on health
During the pandemic, there has been greater focus on healthy food, with consumers asserting that they have become more or less healthy. Some consumers have also started to eat more healthily as a means of preventing disease.

On the other hand, for others, comfort eating during the pandemic has resulted in a few extra pounds. This is not only because some consumers have cooked more at home, but many have pampered themselves by eating more sweets, cake and chocolate and drinking alcohol on a daily basis – in other words, enjoying themselves with their nearest and dearest.

"During the pandemic, Danish consumers have tended to concentrate more on having as pleasant a time as they can. A lack of control over the surrounding world, insecurity about the future, a great number of new rules and restrictions – social distancing, facemasks, bans on social gatherings, etc. have led to more focus on mental health, a need to pamper oneself and creating a sense of well-being. If you have limited opportunities to go out and experience things, then you give yourself permission to enjoy yourself at home with your loved ones,” says Nina Preus, Consumer Sociologist at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.

"With food and drink, you can be released from the discipline, give yourself permission to enjoy yourself and be good to yourself and your loved ones. It’s almost like an extended Christmas period. When the pandemic is over, we can get to grips with healthy eating once again – perhaps even with greater enthusiasm than before,” says Nina Preus.

Post pandemic, therefore, consumers will pay attention to their health, lead a healthier life and take more exercise to tackle the bad habits they got into.

Read also: Consumer trends in the wake of Corona

Shopping with sustainability and the climate in mind
For several years, trends have shown that consumers are increasingly shopping in a value-based way and are willing to change their behaviour according to their own values. A consumer survey conducted by Epinion for the Danish Agriculture & Food Council in the summer of 2019 and 2020 shows that 8 out of 10 consumers are willing to change their buying behaviour for the sake of their values on the climate, sustainability and the environment. During the pandemic, there has been less focus on the climate and sustainability and more focus on health, safety and pampering. Post-corona, consumers will focus on the climate and sustainability once again.

Read also: Danes willing to change behaviour to support the climate and sustainability

Pork on the menu is sustainable
When it comes to sustainability and the climate, pork has a definite place on the menu. Across European countries there is a growing tendency for consumers to eat less meat and more vegetables for the sake of the climate, sustainability, animal welfare and health. Such values, along with organic production, will become ever more important.

Photos: DAFC

In Denmark, pig meat production has the same impact on the climate as chicken. Pork assumes an umami flavour when accompanied by vegetables, which is why pork is expected to continue to feature on shopping lists in future – just in smaller quantities.

Read also: The taste of sustainable pork

Nina Preus, Consumer Sociologist - Market Analysis, Consumer Economics & Statistics

Danish Agriculture & Food Council