In just one month, a trip to the grocery store has changed dramatically due to COVID-19. Many people are shopping less frequently, buying in bulk, and ordering online for pickup or delivery when possible.

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) conducted a consumer research survey to determine how shopping habits changed from early March to early April. Half of the respondents in that survey reported food shopping in stores less often. In addition, 16% answered that they started shopping for groceries online and another 13% were ordering online more frequently. Looking for opportunities to stock up, 42% reported buying more packaged foods than usual over the past month.

Eating patterns have changed, too. Close to half (47%) of survey takers said they were eating more meals cooked at home. Just over a quarter (27%) said they are snacking more, and 15% reported eating more food or more often than they used to.

On the other hand, another 15% of respondents said they are eating healthier foods than usual, and 13% said they eat less food or less often than before. Only two out of 10 respondents said that their eating habits haven’t changed since the pandemic began.

The great news for farmers is that most people still feel confident in the food supply. Of the survey participants, 82% said they were confident that the food they are buying is safe — 39% were very confident and 43% were somewhat confident. Interestingly, this number is higher than what was reported in IFIC’s 2019 Food and Health Survey, where people indicated a 68% confidence level in the safety of our nation’s food supply.

Furthermore, 77% had confidence in the ability of farmers to provide enough food in the next month to meet consumer needs. In fact, 31% were very confident in that statement. So, even during this global health crisis, a majority of consumers have confidence in and an appreciation for the work of farmers and the food they produce. That is positive feedback for everyone working in production agriculture during these stressful times.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2020
April 23, 2020

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