Issue of the day: Forget the healthy stuff, processed food is back – HeraldScotland

Posted: April 11, 2020 at 6:45 pm


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Trend forecasters Kantar Worldpanel has estimated that there will be a rise of 38% in the amount of meals eaten at home during the coronavirus lockdown. But what will we be eating?

If you are the sort to follow so-called influencers on social media (silly you), you might be in for a surprise. Rather than producing a complicated hot chocolate matcha marble cake or majoring in seed-soaked trendy gluten-free vegan options, Kantar Worldpanel say consumers are less likely to experiment in uncertain times, and we should expect a rise in family favourites, especially those that can "fill up" the family such as stews and casseroles, curries, and shepherd's pies.

What are we buying?

Figures from America show that the trend towards buying more fresh or organic foods has been reversed. Basically, shoppers are reaching for oven chips and boxes of sugary cereal rather than organic food and whole grains.

So processed food is back?

For the moment, yes. It's good news for firms producing tinned and frozen foods, though it might not be quite so good for our waistlines.

What's the appeal?

It's hard to be certain but it seems the pull of comfort food is strong. This generation of parents were often brought up in the 1970s and 1980s. Back then, a trip to Fine Fare or William Low was a highlight of the week.

Supermarkets were exciting?

Yes. People increasingly had freezers and microwaves, more disposable income than before, and more women were working full-time, and that led to a boom in convenience food. For the first time, the mass of people had a choice when doing the messages. Supermarkets brought colour into our lives.

So oven chips are cool again?

Treats for this generation of parents included Findus Crispy Pancakes and French bread pizzas, Viennettas, microwave curries and black forest gateau. The emotional pull of processed food, or "food" as it was know then, remains strong.

What about Ice Magic?

Sadly, you can no longer buy the treat, which was poured over ice cream, and would set within moments. The advert lives on on YouTube though. Described as the most exciting thing that has ever happened to ice cream, it showed a very attractive lady skier out-running an avalanche of chocolate, without spoiling her back-combed hair.

Are snacks back too?

Kantar Worldpanel expect to see a significant rise in home snacking. Indulgent categories including chocolate and sweets as well as ice cream. As George Orwell found in The Road to Wigan Pier, in tough times most families prefer to buy something tasty to enrich their dull lives. Lots of sugar, basically.

Will this last once the lockdown is over?

Robert Moskow, an analyst at Credit Suisse, says: We counted three economic recessions in the past 30 years, and in each of them the data show that consumers shifted more toward at-home food consumption to save money. I would expect food-at-home consumption to increase, and not just for the next two months but for the next 12 months.

GARRY

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Issue of the day: Forget the healthy stuff, processed food is back - HeraldScotland

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April 11th, 2020 at 6:45 pm

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