#Covid Changed The Way We Shop

Online shopping was already gaining in popularity before the Covid lockdowns of 2020 but it seems that although some people have returned to in person shopping the trend is very much with purchasing online.

The biggest increase is with online grocery shopping. Food Standards Scotland reports that “Online grocery shopping increased in value to £951 million in 2021, representing an increase of 109.4%, compared to 2019. “

Ordering a takeaway also increased in popularity especially with the use of restaurant web and third party apps such as Just Eat or Deliveroo. There was an increase of nearly 25 million trips using these methods compared to 2019. The takeaway and delivery market rose to a value of £1.5 billion -an 88% increase between 2019 and 2021.

During the pandemic, ordering takeaways from restaurant apps and third party apps saw a huge rise in Scotland, resulting in an expanded choice of outlets to order from using this technology. The delivery market in Scotland gained 1.2 million new customers in 2020, an increase of 54% compared to 2019.

The impact of the pandemic has also affected the out of home sector (restaurants, cafes etc), with the overall value of this market in 2021 22% lower than in 2019.

Situation Report: Changes to shopping and eating behaviours in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

Full service restaurants, and pubs and bars, were the most impacted by the restrictions, with a 55% reduction in spend compared to 2019. Quick service (fast food) restaurants were the least impacted, with a 1% reduction in spend. This may be due to their ability to adapt by providing options for delivery and takeaway more easily. As restrictions eased the impact on the OOH market was less severe, reducing from a 77% reduction in spend in April to a 25% reduction in October, compared to 2019

Four reports were developed providing an overview of what we bought from shops and supermarkets and out of home businesses between 2019 and 2021 using data provided by market research company Kantar for Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

Alana McDonald, Senior Public Health Nutrition Advisor at FSS, said:

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on our lives, and these new reports provide a valuable insight into how consumer purchasing has been impacted in both retail and the out of home food environment.

“Whilst there have been some positives, such as an increase in the amount of fruit and vegetables we bought, we have also seen a rise in unhealthy food behaviours. For example an increase in discretionary foods, (such as biscuits, cakes and savoury snacks), continue to account for 20% of calories in our shopping basket,  takeaways are also on the rise. This may not be surprising as respondents motivation for health as a reason for what we choose to eat has also declined since 2019, accounting for just 24% of our meal occasions in 2021.”

Click on this link to access: Situation Report: Changes to shopping and eating behaviours in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

The new reports will be showcased in a free webinar Webinar: The food environment in Scotland 2021 Tickets, Tue 24 Jan 2023 at 13:00 | Eventbrite 

Kirkwall’s empty streets at the start of the Covid19 lockdown in 2020 Image credit Kenny Armet

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