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Study: Most U.S. consumers to stick with eating at home post-pandemic

Monday, May 17, 2021   /   by Adam Donaldson-Moxley

Study: Most U.S. consumers to stick with eating at home post-pandemic

Article originally posted on supermarketnews.com on May 13th, 2021

The eat-at-home trend boosted by the COVID-19 crisis won’t recede anytime soon post-pandemic, according to new research from CPG sales and marketing firm Acosta.

After the pandemic ends, 92% of families plan to continue eating together at home at least as often as — or more often than — they do now, Acosta’s “COVID Dining Journey: Eating at Home and Away From Home” report found. Online surveys of Acosta’s proprietary shopper community, conducted between March and April, showed that eating together as a family will stay the same for 72% of all households, while 20% expect to eat together more frequently.

Almost two-thirds of shoppers polled reported that, since the coronavirus outbreak, they cook at home more and eat “far more” meals at home all the time, Acosta said. That trend spanned all eating occasions during the day. Following the start of the pandemic, 47% of adults ate breakfast at home every day (versus 37% pre-COVID), 40% of adults ate lunch at home every day (26% pre-COVID) and 31% of families ate dinner at home every day (18% pre-COVID).

Signs that many Americans will stick with eating at home are welcome news to supermarkets, who over the first year of the pandemic benefited from a surge in sales of food and beverages and related supplies as more consumers opted to prepare meals at home or buy grab-and-go and heat-and-eat items. As grocery retailers begin to cycle the big sales gains from the pandemic’s early weeks, companies are seeing less or no growth — or declines — but report that their sales levels remain high versus the pre-pandemic period. Now, the question for supermarkets is when will the pendulum swing back toward food away from home? 

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