Before Coronavirus (BC), our feeds used to be flooded with close-ups and top shots of fancy-looking food we ate at restaurants. After Coronavirus (AC), all that has been replaced by, surprise surprise, photos of homemade food. From Dalgona coffee, banana bread, momos, and pizzas to dishes made from fresh mangoes now, there's no escaping social media, especially with all the stay-at-home time. And cooking is just what comes with it. Says the #CookingCoronaSurvey launched by FOOMS (Food, Media & Society) of the University of Antwerp, Belgium.
According to the study, people have shifted towards buying more fruits and vegetables and turned to healthier eating instead of junk food or ready-made meals. Looks like after cleaner air, less pollution, and reviving flora and fauna, healthy eating is another positive outcome of the COVID-19 lockdown.
"Amid lockdowns, people are eating healthier, are cooking their own food and are consuming more fruit and vegetables," said Charlotte De Backer who chairs FOOMS and coordinated the study that covers nearly 11,000 shoppers across 11 countries--Australia, Belgium, Chile, Uganda, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Greece, Canada, Brazil, and Ireland. With people being forced to stay indoors, they are trying new recipes and experimenting with food. Less wastage of food is another find as people are making use of leftovers and consciously rationing food amid the pandemic.
"We switched from snacks, restaurant food, online delivery orders to home cooking,” one person said, describing changes in his household during the pandemic. "I lost four kilos so I’m proud of that," he added.
In fact, in nearly half of the countries surveyed, shoppers bought fewer salty or sweet snacks while overall sales remained stable as they were replaced by healthier grocery choices. Consumption of salty, fat and sweet products usually goes up when you're under stress and this craving has been especially heightening during the pandemic, said De Backer adding that many countries are turning to home-baked goodies to fulfill these cravings. Furthermore, in all countries surveyed, fresh, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables were bought more, a change De Backer said could be explained by heightened health concerns among people.
Planning in advance to cut time spent at grocery stores could also have contributed to this, De Backer said, "If you make a shopping list, you plan your meals ahead and you are less likely to add unhealthy food." Isn't that something we all can do to successfully save time (and money) spent outside in deciding what to buy and ending up overspending on junk?!
This just proves that the pandemic has strengthened people's attention to food and what they are putting in their bodies. They are making healthier choices by buying fresh fruits and vegetables and cooking fresh meals at home. Not to mention the fun element of trying new recipes with plenty of time on our plate. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining.