THG Redefining Normal Spring 2021 Eating Occasions

It’s been quite an unsettling and uncertain time, with COVID-19 impacting eating and drinking behaviors in dramatic ways.

In spring 2020, the beginning of the pandemic saw heavy impacts on American eating habits, including the occasion context, sourcing, and preparation. Mitigation efforts were in full effect, and lockdowns and fears related to this new, largely unknown virus kept many people at home.

Our new report, Redefining Normal: Spring 2021 Eating Occasions, examines the context, needs, and behaviors associated with eating and drinking occasions during this period. The report contains an overview of key shifts in spring 2021 eating and drinking occasions when compared to spring 2020 (the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S.) and spring 2019 (which we will refer to as pre-pandemic eating behaviors).

Prepared by our Hartman Retainer Services team, the report finds that COVID-19’s initial impact on eating and drinking behaviors was dramatic, but as we progressed through 2020, the resiliency of American food culture was apparent.

Download your free copy of this 24-page report here: THG Redefining Normal

Here are three high-level findings from the report.

  • Summer 2020: In the summer, COVID-19 continued to have an impact on eating, yet as Americans adapted to their new realities, many of the large shifts seen in the spring weren’t as prominent.
  • Fall 2020: In the fall, COVID-19 continued to play a role in how Americans eat, yet there was a strong desire to achieve normalcy.
  • Now, deep into the timeline of the pandemic, as vaccination efforts have been underway but also threats of new variants are among us, it is clear that both COVID-19 and its mitigation efforts have impacted (and will continue to impact) Americans’ day-to-day lives and eating behaviors.

Spring 2021 Eating Occasions Away from Home Chart

Our analysts also report that breaking from consistencies in 2019 and 2020, fewer Americans are now participating in eating occasions lunchtime and later, on average.

This spring 2021, the basic rhythm of eating through the day shifted, significantly differing from spring 2020 (which was consistent with pre-pandemic behaviors in spring 2019). Fewer Americans are participating in lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and after-dinner snack occasions, yet early-morning snack occasions appear to be playing a more important role, as more Americans are now consuming food and/or beverages earlier in the day.

The average number of eatings across the day has also declined, from 4.1 in spring 2020 down to 3.9 in spring 2021 (a small but statistically significant drop).

Download your free copy of this 24-page report here: THG Redefining Normal

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