In the early days of the pandemic, many wondered why it was so hard to find basic food items of everyday consumption in local supermarkets and even online. These product shortages were attributed by many to COVID-19 fear-driven purchases by consumers as they hoarded everyday products and stocked their pantries.
When the government intensified the measures to battle the Covid-19 outbreak with a country-wide lockdown, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and their retailers said demand surged, mainly due to the strict measures and movement restrictions imposed to contain the outbreak.
Consumers in major cities in India started to stock up on essential items, such as staples, packaged food and cooking oils. But there were also shortages of our favorite beverages and snacks, not necessarily the things we can’t live without, but rather the things we don’t want to live without, as food companies had to trim down their production pipelines.
In those early days of lockdowns, grocery shortages ranged from reasonably concerning to harmlessly annoying. For example, the surge in panic-buying caused shortages of even the most common staple like fl our, which understandably scared many consumers.
But while these bulk purchases did play a small part in some of the shortages, the primary driver was consumers’ increased time spent at home during lockdown and work-from-home initiatives. All of these factors provided the impetus for the resulting shift in consumption and increased demand for everyday staples products.
“Stocking up behavior was observed across FMCG categories in the initial phase of the Covid pandemic. The panic buying gradually subsided, but we observed a shift to the bigger-sized packs. Also, with the Covid lockdowns, online at-home access to groceries has become the preferred mode. Therefore, the e-Grocery space is experiencing an interesting turn of events that is providing a boost to the food sector and, we too, have witnessed the same,” observes Paras Budhiraja, Managing Director, Paras Nutritions Pvt. Ltd., which recently launched range of ‘Immunity Boosters’ that has received a huge demand from the market as the product helps the body to fight against bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens, making it a grocery essential in the current scenario.
Covid has upended the demand for packaged healthy food
In fact, consumption of staple food products and packaged food considered healthy have undergone a massive shift as consumers are spending more time at home. COVID-19 and stay-at-home directives have shifted consumption channels and had a disproportionate impact on demand for certain everyday products. At the same time, consumers have shown preference to opt for healthy and hygienic packaged foods over foods sold loose.
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