Results from numerous lifestyle and diet surveys in lockdown point to key trends around how we are consuming food, how we shop and how we live. Our physical and mental health have become a key focus and more importance is being placed on healthy eating.
A report* last month revealed almost half the population say they have put on weight during lockdown, and as things continue – this trend is likely to grow. Perhaps surprisingly, Millennials (aged 24-38) are of greatest concern with 59% seeing considerable weight gain.
Increased alcohol consumption (35%) comfort eating 24% and lack of exercise 17% are key factors as people socially distanced from people but not the food cupboards.
According to The UK Lockdown Diet Report the top ten reasons dieters have seen a weight gain during lockdown are:
- Comfort eating
- Drinking more alcohol
- Exercising less
- Eating food they wouldn’t normally consume
- Being bored
- Lack of routine
- Feeling stressed or anxious
- Not being able to go to the gym
- Not being able to maintain a weight loss plan as easily
- A lack of contact with others
As the pressure of lockdown continues, people have been following one of two avenues- either turning to the snack and drink cupboard, or looking to change their longer-term lifestyles for the better.
Are Breakfasts overcooked?
Surveys by Kantar reveal consumption of cooked breakfasts almost doubled from 11 – 20 million in the 4 weeks to 19 April. Sausage and bacon sales have increased YOY and egg sales have rocketed too – they are a functional ingredient that can be cooked in numerous healthy ways – and more people are baking too.
As lockdown continues, the effect on waistlines and oversized tummies has led to more people taking an interest in calorie control and healthier starts to the day.
More minerals and vitamins
A healthy and varied diet provides a wide range of nutrients as part of a daily diet.
Before Covid-19, UK dietary data from 2019 highlighted that fruit, veg and fibre intake was below the recommended daily levels, but sugar intake was above recommendation.
Research also shows that more frequent cooking in general and cooking from scratch is associated with a healthier diet. People have been cooking and baking to a far greater extent in recent weeks. In the first 4 weeks of lockdown an extra 2.1 million people bought flour and started backing and making bread (Kantar). So, could it be that lockdown may mark the start of a healthier relationship with food for many?
Public Health England/the NHS updated its guidance to suggest that people might want to consider taking 10mg of Vitamin D a day as levels from sunlight may not be enough if most of the day was spent indoors. During lockdown there was a large spike in sale of Vitamin D supplements – and Vitamin C sales also rose by 110% (Kantar w/e 22/3).
Eggs have high satiation levels and low calories and are flexible and functional food for any time of day. Eaten for breakfast, morning snacks, light lunches or as part of a supper. They have a key role to play in a diet, packed with protein and rich in minerals and vitamins.
Did you know that a meal of two medium sized boiled eggs contain Vitamin D (3.2mcg – 1/3 of daily recommendation)? Eggs also contain Vitamin B2 and B12 – essential for contributing to formation of red blood cells, energy metabolism and function of immune & nervous system. Find out more here: https://www.egginfo.co.uk/egg-nutrition-and-health/egg-nutrition-information/vitamins-and-minerals
Snacking – healthier in the morning
According to the Grocer Healthy Snacking Category Report 2020, morning is the most popular time to snack, and with a healthy morning resolve, morning snacks are more likely to be healthy.
At the same time, at-home chocolate consumption reached “its highest point in the past two years, even higher than Christmas and Easter”, according to Kantar. But that could not last.
The World Health Organization advises that maintaining a healthy diet plays a “crucial role” in helping shake off coronavirus as quickly as possible. Data from medical advice service Flawless.org shows Google searches for ‘healthy snacks’ are up by 110%.
Sadly, 30% of Brits are still unaware of the risks associated with obesity and the outbreak which have been recognised in recent research by Edinburgh University and Imperial College London.
A weighty issue:
Weight gain is still a huge issue in lockdown. A new King’s College London and Ipsos MORI survey of 2,254 people has addressed the question of weight gain during the pandemic. 48% of respondents say they have put on weight during lockdown, the same percentage report feeling more anxious or depressed than usual, and 29% say they have drunk more alcohol.
In latter weeks there has been increasing interest in calorie control and healthier eating. Attitude towards health is now being taken more seriously – 48% of people say their health has been affected and they are planning on making serious lifestyle changes. In part, this is also due to more consumers learning that obesity is an added risk in the face of Covid -19.
Jane DeVille-Almond, chair of The British Obesity Society said: “Recent evidence has highlighted the added risk of complications from Covid-19 for those carrying excess weight but still people are piling on the pounds during lockdown. It’s not surprising, many of us turn to food and drink when we are anxious, stressed or simply bored. However, in many ways there has never been a better time to think about changing our lifestyle, we have had the time to eat better, plan our meals better and exercise more.”
According to Speciality Food Magazine “Health and functional foods that actively contribute to better health such as boosting immunity are continuing to grow.”
This is good news for egg production – a staple on the majority of shopping lists. The magazine also identifies 5 ways in which lifestyles have changed:
- Online shopping
- Cooking from scratch
- Consider better ingredients
- Choosing local food and local shops
- Increasing intake of alcohol
1 – online shopping – click and collect and home delivery services sprang up – and not just the large supermarkets. Independent food retailers and farm shops have taken advantage of online and over the phone ordering, with volunteer delivery services becoming part of the community norm. More people are looking for traditional deliveries of milk, eggs and extra’s as doorstep deliveries are back in vogue.
2 – cooking from scratch – it’s good for a healthy diet and has changed the food shopping lists. We’ve seen egg sales have maintained at pace and it is continuing.
3 – you are what you eat – consumers are looking for better quality ingredients and being more inventive to reduce food waste.
4 – keeping it local. There’s a real sense of community and a drive for #shoplocal and #buybritish – let’s hope that continues, with independent shops benefitting in the longer term.
5 – cheers – alcohol consumption is up 25% (OnePoll for John Lewis/Waitrose). With the hospitality industry closed, more people are drinking at home and more frequently.
- * Research carried out through OnePoll in April 2020 of 2,000 UK adults.
- The Grocer
- Speciality Fine Food magazine
- BBC website
- UK Lockdown Diet Report by The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan