The COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Cooking Habits

Cooking and eating habits in Germany changed significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a consumer study carried out by the market research institute INNOFACT AG on behalf of the German Deep Freeze Institute (dti).

The three most important nutritional aspects from the consumer’s point of view are the freshness of the products (92%), a healthy diet (81%) and natural ingredients (81%). During the coronavirus crisis, a healthy diet and the freshness of the products became more important for at least a quarter of the test subjects, the report shows. Far less important than expected are the trending topics vegetarian (22%) and vegan foods (15%), which only achieved a lower approval rate. However, almost half (49%) emphasize that they want to reduce their meat consumption. When it comes to sugar consumption, the figure is as high as 58%.

As the market development has shown for years, frozen products have always had a very high, positive value in Germany. Frozen products have become an indispensable part of today’s diet, rather they are a “game changer” for healthy eating. Basically every household (98%) buys and uses frozen products, even in “normal” times. In the coronavirus crisis, sales of frozen products in the grocery trade experienced a real boom: according to dti sales statistics, there was a 12% in 2020. The proportion of “heavy users”, i.e. consumers, who use frozen food at least once or several times a month up to several times a week, has increased further and currently stands at 78%. The most popular product groups are vegetables/herbs (77%), fish (69%), potato products (65%), pizza (60%), and bread rolls (48%).

During the pandemic, people also cooked with fresh food more often, as confirmed by 41% of those surveyed. Almost a third (31%) ordered food to be picked up more often. A good quarter (26%) used delivery services more often. The way we handle frozen products has also changed in a positive way: 19% of those surveyed see an increase in self-cooking with frozen food. The preparation of frozen meals has increased significantly in consumer favor with 14%, the dti says.

These changes in eating behavior were particularly evident in the 18 to 39-year-old age group. Apparently, in view of home office, homeschooling and home university, there was an increased need in many households to prepare lunch and dinner fresh and easily and to use healthy nutritional solutions.

In conclusion, the study has shown that freshness, healthy eating and natural ingredients are the most important nutritional trends. When it comes to freshness, frozen products are simply unbeatable, because they are frozen immediately after harvest, catch and/or preparation. The preservation takes place exclusively in the cold – without the addition of preservatives.

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