Dynamic Consumer Behavior Around Food, Convenience, and Waste During Pandemic | The Garage Group

Dynamic Consumer Behavior Around Food, Convenience, and Waste During Pandemic

A recent article in Waste Dive on the shifts emerging in food and packaging waste aligned with some thoughts we were having: In the unprecedented landscape of a global pandemic, how is the narrative around waste changing?

We have seen consumers and brands push back on food and packaging waste even as they clamor for convenience, and we were curious if their mindsets and behaviors were changing as is the landscape for all of us.  

In 3 hours, we scraped publicly available social media sources from March 13 to April 3 to gain insight into consumer sentiments about their pain points, frustrations, and workarounds surrounding food, convenience, and waste during this global pandemic. Here’s what we learned:

Changing Buying Behavior

Amidst uncertainty and major lifestyle adjustments, consumers are shifting their grocery and food buying habits. Those who often ate meals on the go, find themselves at home and with usually scant pantries and freezers now packed. Convenience is being viewed with a new perspective. Rather than being “easy to take with me and consume during my busy day,” it can now mean, “readily available in my home where I am spending all of my time and which minimizes outings to the grocery store.” Convenient also translates to “delivered to my door,” and for some, this is a completely new experience which they may consider carrying forward post-pandemic.

Waste No Food

With larger amounts of food in their homes, consumers are making efforts to use things in new ways and not be wasteful. And with long term economic concerns, some have an eye on saving money by wasting neither food nor ingredients. Even with differing motivations behind their efforts, consumers share a goal of maximizing the value of their food, time, and money. Some justify generating more trash from packaging because they are achieving goals of minimizing food waste. And, parents are using the situation to educate their children and establish new paradigms around waste in their households.

The Health Factor

Very recently, consumers were pushing back against the waste of food and food packaging and seeking to strike a balance between minimizing waste while also using convenient solutions. A new factor has entered this equation: health. With the health and safety of their families, service and health care providers, and themselves top of mind, some consumers are willing to compromise previous values around the environment in order to protect themselves and others. 

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