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Change in consumer behaviour

Change in consumer behaviour

28 april 2020
Since the beginning of the health crisis facing the world, consumers' eating habits and behaviours have changed. Have these changes been beneficial? What consequences will they have at the end of the crisis?

The appearance of confinement, consumer choices, the withdrawal of employees, the uneasiness of transporters have all been factors that have forced the food chain to adapt and perform permanent acrobatics.  With the closure of restaurants, cafés, markets and canteens, everyone no longer eats in exactly the same way.

During these first weeks, France observed a first behaviour among its consumers: food storage in large quantities. Foods such as eggs, flour, bread or pasta, hygiene products and packaged foods experienced a 4 to 5 times higher demand that distributors had to face.

Subsistence products (prepared dishes, canned and frozen foods) are therefore favoured in order to allow this storage and thus reduce the frequency of food purchases.
Source: Les Echos

In just a few weeks, distribution has become an essential part of French life. The food distribution sector recorded a 38% increase in activity between 9 and 15 March.

At the same time, there is a strong movement to deconsumer fresh produce. Milk, seasonal vegetables and meats, in search of markets, restaurants and customers are then lost. For good reason, the French are turning away from fresh produce for fear of the presence of the virus.

Specialists in frozen food, the Picard retailers give a concrete example of the change in consumption. With 90% of its 1,100 products stolen in just a few days, there has been an increase in the consumption of frozen foods, leading to the closure of many stores due to stock shortages.
Source: Les Echos

After several weeks, the onslaught of the major retail chains gave way to new trends.

For the first time, the French are fearful for the country's economy and their purchasing power and have become more cautious in their spending. Many of them are reducing the frequency of shopping and are interested in other channels for the first time:
  • Drive-through withdrawals, which have increased by 61%
  • Home delivery, which has increased by 90%
Source: The Nielsen Company

At the end of containment, the adoption of certain measures may continue to impact the recovery of activity. This is the case at Rungis, where buyers are no longer allowed to walk around the stalls, feel the meat to assess quality or even taste certain products. 

Consumers have not finished seeing their habits turned upside down while some will learn beneficial lessons from this crisis. With the ambition of a positive impact, some specialists hope that consumers will develop a greater sensitivity between the distinction between essential and accessory needs while prioritizing short and national circuits.

Faced with these changes in consumer behaviour, Actimeat has been able to demonstrate its reactivity and adapt its production capacity to meet the changes in demand.

To know more about it, contact us !