No one would have thought that a virus can create a pandemic which would force the world to lockdown in their home. It all started in China in December 2019 and reached in every corner of the world and is growing on its own way. To battle with this pandemic in India the Government took a decision to lockdown entire country from 24th March 2020 to 14th April, then extend to 3rd May and then 17th May 2020. 

Whatever the situation it may be, but everything’s ends on the food either processed or raw. To know what processed food was in demand during this Covid 19 time, we conducted an online survey with 200+ people from different parts of India.

The respondents were asked following questions. 

  1. Which Part of India you are staying?
  2. Which type of city you live in?
  3. Which type of processed food you bought from market (Lock down 1.0 / 2.0 / 3.0)
    1. Ready to Eat
    2. Ready to Fry
    3. Ready to Cook
    4. Juices
    5. Soft drinks 
    6. Chocolates 
    7. Health food 
    8. Bakery Products 
    9. Ingredient for recipe preparing 

4. Where did you shopped your food (Modern Retail/ Online/Grocery Shop)?
5. Where you find your wish list (Modern Retail/ Online/Grocery Shop)?
6. Which type of food you prefer post Covid-19?

Reviews expressed here are based on the feedback given by the respondents who are from different part of the country, working in different sectors, and are from different genders. Out of the total respondents 29.4% are female and 70.60% are male.  Out of the total respondents 64% are from metro, 22% from tier two city and 14% are from tier three cities.


Lock down 1.0

During lockdown 1.0 people locked in home have faced many situations, like, people started buying things panicky probably thinking that the situation can worsen. During this time 49.5% people have picked bakery and confectionery products, followed by ready to cook and ready to eat processed food 42.8% & 42% respectively. However, to spend the time with family people started experimenting preparing food from YouTube or google. People have explored recipe like dolgano coffee, Jalebi, cake (cooker or oven) , samosa, dhokla, panipuri etc. Around 67% of people have brought ingredient for such recipes. 

As per the google the recipe search for above said products has spiked from 3250% to 5000%.

Google.com

The ready to cook products like instant noodles and pasta has been sold like hot cakes from the shelf of modern retail as well as next door grocery shops. Also because of increase in work from home trend the branded snacks items like farsan, wafers, bhujia and shev has also wiped out from shelf. The coffee and tea powder has also bought by people.


Lock down 2.0

During lockdown 2.0 the trend for processed food almost remained same except one to two categories. However, due to slowdown of supply chain the branded products could not reach to the shelves of the store, therefore, the local or regional brands taken over the shelf from branded one. Major one are papad, masala, chutney, pickle, some milk products, sauces , ketchup and ready to eat snacks product. The response from respondents for lockdown 2.0 is presented in below chart.

After having the good food and good time in lockdown 1.0 people have focused on heath foods like multigrain products, health supplements, low fat products, nutri bars organic food, chavanprash, kadha, etc. There was 6% of spike in health food as compared to lockdown 1.0. However, the trend for bakery and confectionery product was also spiked with 6%. The ready to cook product have shown a decline by 3.5%, probably this might be because of increasing trend of recipe preparation and non-availability of branded product in the shelves of shop.


Lock down 3.0

Since we are in the middle of the lockdown 3.0 where some relaxations are also given by respective state government, therefore some part of the working people started routine life, and some have received short or part of their income, therefore such class of people were restricted to their routine food habits. Probably because of this reason the changes in preference by people has observed.

Forms response chart. Question title: Lockdown 3.0 - Which type of processed food you bought from market. Number of responses: 201 responses.

Since there were many constraints like availability of inventory at home, short in income, and reopening of offices etc. Therefore, lockdown 3.0 cannot be compared with last two. 


Observation

During this pandemic time people from metro and tier two cities have opted for all the options right from grocery shop, modern retail and online grocery buying. However, this is observed that around 80% people have preferred to purchase grocery from next door grocery shop. Those who have option for all these buying channels they have opted for all. And now a days, the next door grocery stores are also analyzing the trend and according to which they maintain their inventory. They cannot give the discount as compared to modern retail but they make sure that availability of all the products in small or large quantity. Further 49.5% people said that local grocery shop has fulfilled their wish list.   

Modern retail stores and grocery stores have witnessed a sudden spike in regional processed food products like, papad, pickle, ready to eat products, snacks and local branded edible oils, chakki fresh atta etc. due to unavailability of branded process food products with their stockist.  The Covid 19 has given opportunity to new entrant to prove them self and they could match the mind set of brand carrying customers by giving matching quality at reasonable cost.     

Conclusion

During all 3 lockdowns the consumers have gone through the different phases of food moods. In lockdown 1.0 consumers have enjoyed food without fearing of calorie or nutritional label that they carries. In lockdown 2.0 consumers started shifting on healthy foods and by the end of lockdown 3.0 customer may shift to healthy / natural/ ethnic food category at least for some time.

As there is increase in awareness of strong immunity can beat Corona virus by different experts and Government of India, we expect this will change future trends of buying. Below chart gives the idea about consumer buying behaviour post lockdown. Consumers are becoming aware day by day and willing to go back in ancient way of food habit, like preferring brown rice, Chakki fresh atta, rock salt , Lakdi Ghana or cold pressed oils etc.