According to psychology experts, it takes just over two months for a new behavior to become habitual. Considering that we are already well into the second year of pandemic, it is worth reflecting on how consumers’ habits have changed, how likely they are to change again and how this rapidly evolving situation is going to impact the future of our business sector.
During the last twenty years, in order to move at the same speed of a more mindful, curious and demanding consumer, we all had to break well-settled paradigms. Technology helped us ‘stay ahead of the game’, always ready to provide effective answers to brand new questions. As recovery begins to spread and pandemic-related restrictions loosen, what is next is the matter we should all be dealing with.
Recent surveys show how consumers have adapted to at-home eating: so much so that, even now that restaurants are open again and people are free to dine out, many of them still choose to eat at home. Shopping for meals has also become a more conscious experience, a moment that needs time and concentration as consumers are now paying more attention than they used to do in the recent past to nutritional values, quality and value for money. According to the International Food Information Council, consumers are more concerned with products that benefit their health and wellness: it does not come as a surprise, then, that the latest figures highlight a significant sales increase in natural, healthy food while emphasizing a continuous drop in sales for those segments that are not perceived as healthy.
In order to maintain loyalty, today more than ever, we are all expected to keep an open, constant dialogue with our consumers: as simple as it may sounds, it is the only way to continue meeting their needs and, above all, sustain their new food related habits well beyond the current situation.
NielsenIQ, which last summer confirmed that an astounding 85% of consumers changed their food habits because of the pandemic, is foreseeing that this year’s holiday season will be the opportunity for consumer goods businesses to demonstrate that they have understood this new, dynamic trend and incorporated all the data related to it into their planning routine in order to leverage it for potential, future expansion. The path to succeeding lies in meeting the new expectations of food shopping experiences while anticipating the consumer behavior to maximize trust in the purchase process.