Locked down shoppers turn to vegetables, shun ready meals

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Locked down shoppers turn to vegetables, shun ready meals

Shoppers cut spending on ready-made meals and bought more fruit and vegetables, turning to healthier eating during Covid-19 lockdowns, preliminary results of a research project showed.

People forced to stay home also tried new recipes and threw away less food, the survey of nearly 11,000 shoppers in 11 countries found.

“Amid lockdowns people are eating healthier, are cooking their own food and are consuming more fruit and vegetables,” said Charlotte De Backer, who coordinated the study at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

As they deserted offices and cooked at home, shoppers cut purchases of microwaveable food in all the countries surveyed - Australia, Belgium, Chile, Uganda, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Greece, Canada, Brazil and Ireland.

“We switched from snacks, restaurant food, online delivery orders to home cooking,” Firene, an Azerbaijan national who lives in Brussels, said, describing changes in his household during the pandemic. “I lost four kilos so I’m proud of that.”

In nearly half of the countries surveyed, shoppers bought fewer salty or sweet snacks, although overall sales remained stable.

Sales of fresh vegetables were up by 24% at the beginning of May in the U.S, while fresh fruit sales were also up in the double digits.

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