Three quarters (76%) of European consumers say that they plan to eat and drink more healthily in the future as a result of COVID-19, new research by FMCG Gurus has found.
According to the research, which was conducted in February 2021, some 58% of consumers are concerned about a third wave of the virus occurring, while 19% believe it is something that will continue to impact day-to-day life for 'several years'.
'As a result, consumers will remain conscious about the virus and the potential impact it can have on their health,' FMCG Gurus said. 'They will also look to take steps to maximize their vulnerability to disease and illness.'
On the findings that some three-quarters plan to eat more healthily as a result of the pandemic, FMCG Gurus said that this shows that most shoppers do not feel that coverage of the pandemic has been sensationalised.
'It also shows that initial reactions to the virus last year were not knee jerk and instead, consumers have fundamentally changed their attitudes to health as a result of the virus,' it noted.
More than two fifths are seeking out functional food and drink products more frequently as a result of the pandemic, the research showed, with ingredient-led claims gaining greater traction.
For example, of those that plan to eat or drink more healthily, some 60% say that they plan to reduce their sugar intake.
According to FMCG Gurus, this is likely to bolster demand for products that they deem to be tasty, 'guilt-free', and nutritious at the same time.
'When launching such products, it is important not to over-promote ingredient claims at the expense of sensory appeal,' FMCG Gurus said. 'Indeed, the desire to turn to comfort products for moments of escapism is a key driver of food and drink occasions, and consumers will not want products deemed too functional if they associate them with compromised taste.'
At the same time, however, consumers are displaying somewhat contradictory attitudes when it comes to their pandemic eating and drinking habits.
While consumers are making attempts to eat and drink more healthily, 43% say that they are also turning to comfort food and drink more frequently to deal with the pressures of everyday life, FMCG Gurus found.
Close to half (47%) of respondents also added that they have become more conscious about their mental wellbeing, due to the high levels of uncertainty about the virus, the health and wellbeing of loved ones, and future job prospects.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.