Major social changes and innovations often occur when we see huge uncertainty and upheaval due to a trigger, or a point of origin. The second world war was one of the major transformative events of the 20th century that brought many social, economic, and health changes across the world.
Likewise, Coronavirus pandemic has not only affected our daily lifestyle and physical activity, but it has also changed our eating habits. According to analysts, not only in India but also in European countries, people are detaching their lives from non-vegetarian items and fast food joints. They have started marching towards more nutritious and vegetarian options.
The Coronavirus crisis will also create many opportunities for food and related sectors. Technology will be better used to make edible items. Better use of machines and less use of humans will promote hygiene in kitchens. The overall health indexing of restaurants and eateries is expected to improve post-coronavirus crisis.
Now, people will get out of their house only when it is very necessary. This will reduce the possibility of disintegration of food items over time as demand for packaged and processed items will be on the rise. Food delivery services after COVID-19 will play a major role in bringing back ‘facilities’ for people. As most people stay at home, demand for home deliveries for essential items and food is expected to rise fivefold.
Since the start of COVID-19 outbreak, vigilance about hygiene has been increasing across the world. People have also started to collect information about immunity-enhancing foods. The demand for food, fruits, and vegetables has increased rapidly. As people stay at home, they are trying to boost immunity to better fight the virus which is out to damage all. The pandemic has also sparked interest in seasonal fruits such as oranges, grapes, lemons, peppermint, smoothies, juices, and other drinks in summer.
In European countries, instead of unbeatable consumption of fast food items, people are moving towards food that helps their immune system stay strong. Restaurants are closed, but even at home, people are avoiding cooking non-vegetarian, fearing they might catch COVID-19 from infected food. Demand has poured in for ‘safe’ and processed meat which can be consumed without any worries.
According to California’s Raborisearch, everyone is prioritizing Vitamin C to increase immunity in the US. Thus, demand for lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits and foods in US stores has increased by 50 percent since March 2020. Mark Snyder, CEO of Nestle SA, the world’s largest food and Beverage Company, says sales of fibre-rich foods used in breakfast have seen a boom. Consumption of tea-coffee and soft drinks has also increased.
Coronavirus has killed more half a million people all over the world and no-one knows when a vaccine would be available for use. Only a healthy diet and immunity-boosting substances might not be helpful in reducing the risk of virus infection.
People should also follow Coronavirus preventive measures like wearing face masks and social distancing. Although the habit of cooking at home is being seen as a major change, it might not stay there once people are back in their offices. Working individuals often do not find required time to cook food for themselves and hence they are mostly dependent on outside food.
Such people are also looking for better options to get cooked food from once they are back at their working places. This has also presented a unique and substantial opportunity for the processed food sector. Local food industry in big hubs might also turn out to be a shining star if a new option is discovered by it.
COVID-19 pandemic has created a positive impact on food waste as people strive towards reducing food waste. They have developed positive attitudes towards food waste prevention. A huge amount of food waste has decreased since the lockdown started. As restaurants are closed, people have started cooking at home. According to a report, around 6.6 million tonnes of food waste comes from each house alone in the UK. The figure has drastically improved after lockdown as people try to utilize everything they have and prevent wastage fearing a shortage of food and essential items.
According to a study, food waste prevention is probably driven more by the socio-economical context of the COVID-19 crisis in South Asia is, i.e., food availability, restricted movements, loss of income, than by a pro-environmental concern.
People are avoiding restaurants and bars as they are being considered high-risk spots when it comes to the chance of contracting the virus. Complying with social distancing norms and wearing masks is not possible in these places. Sitting inside or around the restaurant can also increase the chances of virus exposure. Improvisation and self-assessment during virus times have also made some communities more responsible. Several organizations have committed to providing food to the needy and poor amid the Coronavirus crisis.
A similar initiative was led in Dubai where a campaign was launched to give 10 million meals to the poor. As Coronavirus pandemic shatters existing boundaries and norms, let us all unite to help every living soul on the planet with whatever we can. Several global and local initiatives are already in place to severe humans and animals during these tough times, but nothing will work in absence of joint action.