COVID and its effect on the grocery retail shopper

By the end of the first week in 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a fact of everyday life for 44 weeks.  As a result ,what we eat, our lifestyle and work life has changed enormously.  Senior Insight Manager Alex, has been tracking how this has affected grocery consumer behaviour.

As we know, this period has been an exceedingly tough time for the hospitality industry, with the value of out-of-home consumption down almost £8bn year on year¹. Even during August’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, dining-out meal occasions Monday-Wednesday were down 11% vs. last year¹.

Eat at home growth

However with the main bulk of our business in the retail sector, we have seen some positives trends.

Covid eating habits

The shift to eating at-home has had a significant and positive impact on UK Grocery retail and this has resulted in total grocery & non-food sales up £8.2bn (+7.5%)² compared to 2019.

  • There are now 26% more food and drink occasions in the home
  • Lunchtime eating up 74%
  • Evening meals seeing a 17% increase³

We’ve also seen the effect of the pandemic on previously cautious online shoppers. This channel has has now grown its share of total retailer value from 8% to 13%³.

With consumers spending less time out of the house, or not working in the office another emerging shopper pattern has been bigger, but less frequent shopping trips.  Whilst volume per trip has grown by 19.5% year on year, frequency has declined by almost 10%⁴.

So what products are people eating at home?

Continental meats
The continental meats category has been well placed to serve a variety of current consumer needs: the rise of scratch cooking; feeding the family and bringing the restaurant experience in-home. Overall this has resulted in a growth of 22.8% in the latest 12 weeks.

72% of people have reported an increase in their scratch cooking⁵, which has led to more demand for and growth in purchase of ingredient-type products. Our chorizo rings have seen double digit growth in all retailers.  Then there are versatile family favourites like frankfurters and more premium restaurant-style selection platters – both of which have seen value growth of around +20%⁴.

Cooking from scratch ingredients

Olives & antipasti

With chilled olives & antipasti tapping into the restaurant experience consumers have indulged here with with growth now up 11.8%⁶.

Olives, antipasti and tomatoes


Within the chilled meat free category  (like continental meats), the fastest growth is in ingredient-type products which have grown at almost 40% in the latest 12 weeks⁴.  This is good news for the Vivera range which boasts mince, shawarma kebab and bacon pieces – amongst other delicious meat replacements.

Vivera plant-based ingredients

We can see there’s naturally a big increase in those cooking at home and getting creative in the kitchen.  Both our Squeaky Bean and also our Vadasz brands are full of ideas to cook using our plant-based products so it’s worth giving their instagram feeds a look (links on their names).

So that’s just a quick round-up on how the pandemic has affected the retail grocery market – specifically in our categories.

In the meantime, if you’d be interested in more of our category insights, get in touch with us via our contact page

Article sources:

¹ Kantar FMCG & Out of Home Panel (incl. takeaways)
² IRI Retailer Advantage to 12th Dec 20
³ Kantar Usage Panel to 9th Aug 20
⁴ Kantar WPO 52 & 12 weeks to 29th Nov 20
⁵ IGD, Sept 20
⁶ Winterbotham Darby estimate 13 weeks to 31st Oct 20

January 5, 2021

3 minute read

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Just a couple of weeks left to perfect your entries for the @foodphotoaward. We're proud sponsors of the 'Food For Sale' category and the judges are looking for the very best shots of food for sale, be it a farmers market in France, spices in Senegal, macaroons in a chic Parisian emporium or coconut pancakes from a Thai floating market. Images of buying and selling food in shops and on the street anywhere in the world. For more details on how to enter, click the link in our bio ☝🏼 ☝🏾 ...

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yet ANOTHER launch, perfect if you're doing @weareveganuary. Or just because. Our @squeakybeanveg have launched Crispy Duck style pieces (plus hoisin & pancakes) for the ultimate in plant-based, tasty eating (without the stress of booking a takeaway slot). Head to @waitroseandpartners to enjoy ...

📣 📸 Calling all food photographers , videographers and food stylists- there is now less than a month to go until entries close for the @foodphotoaward. We are very proud to sponsor the 'Food For Sale' category. But would encourage anyone thinking about entering any of the 25 categories to GO FOR IT! You could win a category (like @zayyarlin84) or even be crowned Food Photographer of the Year (like @kmasad) and take home a £5k prize and a load of fantastic opportunities. Give it a go - 2021 might be your year! ...

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Today when some of the team are enjoying the bank holiday, we say thanks to those who are working and it’s business as usual. Production & manufacturing, warehouse, supply chain & logistics colleagues. Making sure our tasty olives, antipasti, pickles and plant-based products reach the shelves.

#clitheroe #bicester #redhill #team

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Whoop whoop. We second that.