Among the various ways everything has changed since March 2020, how we shop, make, and consume food has undergone a massive change. Not only did we deal with grocery store shortages, what we decide to eat and buy has changed. In addition, for months in most places you could either cook your own food or order takeout; dining in restaurants was impossible.
The New York Times recently surveyed how food habits have changed in 2020 and it’s a fascinating look at a societal food behavioral change. It’s not just that everyone decided to become a sourdough baker, but how we even buy food changed.
They say we all started with filling our pantries, which is a polite way of saying we started hoarding. then we all crawled back into our childhood with Oreos and Lucky Charms. From there we got into sourdough and baking and making complex recipes.
As for shopping itself, people are making fewer trips to the store of course, and ordering online, but also shopping locally from farms and smaller stores.
The article lists seven ways the pandemic has changed how we feed ourselves: fewer trips and better lists and meal planning; more online delivery shopping; oranges are big sellers atop a general surge in produce because of the perception of healthiness; stores themselves have changed with wider aisles and new traffic flows and new ways to pay; there’s less variety in aisles with fewer specialty and impulse items; frozen foods are big; and people are buying groceries locally from farms, co-ops, restaurants, and small shops.
A big aspect of all of this is the personal connections that people are making. They’re connecting with the people who run their local stores, whether employees in chain stores or families running farms; they’re connecting with friends online about food and cooking and ideas; and they’re reconnecting with family around the dinner table instead of grabbing a meal on the run to the next event or on the way to or from school. Like in a lot of things, the pandemic may have helped us rediscover something that had been lost and made us re-examine how we live our lives.