How lockdown is changing our eating habits, shopping and hobbies

How lockdown is changing our eating habits, shopping and hobbies: From buying milk and bread on Deliveroo to a surge in athleisure sales dubbed the ‘Joe Wicks effect’

  • Reports from Waitrose & Partners and Deliveroo reveal nation’s changing habits
  • Takeaway group revealed people ordering in groups and eating earlier
  • Added sales of bananas are up 66 per cent as people shop for groceries online  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

When the lockdown was imposed in the UK, shoppers flocked to supermarkets and cleared the shelves of loo roll, tinned goods and pasta.

But a new report from John Lewis and Waitrose has revealed a shift in priorities for middle class Brits, who are now investing in homemaking goods – with sales of baking and sewing-related items soaring since Covid-19. 

People are also buying more sportswear – ‘dubbed the Joe Wicks effect’ – as they trade the gym for a daily home workout in the living room. 

Meanwhile takeaway fans have also changed their habits, according to a new report by Deliveroo – eating them more often and earlier since lockdown began.

From Zoom work lunches to FaceTime date nights, virtual birthdays and even online wedding celebrations, the nation has seen new social trends emerging left-right-and-centre as people look to connect in new ways.

Here, FEMAIL reveals the most significant ways people’s shopping and lifestyle habits are changing.

THE RETURN OF THE NOSTALGIC HOBBY  

As customers keep themselves busy during extended periods of time spent indoors, John Lewis has seen unprecedented sales of haberdashery items. 

These include needlepoint sets, sewing machines, knitting yarn and crafting kits – with sales of elastic up 1,430 per cent as Brits make their own face masks at home.

On the theme of embracing nostalgic and traditional hobbies such as sewing, crafting, knitting and gardening, John Lewis has revealed more than half the nation is getting busy in the kitchen.

According to its findings, based on new OnePoll research of 2,000 representative UK adults, combined with sales data and online searches from the two retailers, and insight from expert Partners, 51 per cent of people have been choosing to spend increased time with loved ones by cooking and baking together.

John Lewis has seen unprecedented sales levels of haberdashery items such as sewing machines. Pictured, stock image

LESS WASTEFUL COOKING 

Waitrose has also seen a 63 per cent uplift in searches of ‘grow your own’ – with searches for vegetable seeds increasing more than 20-fold and bird seed six-fold.

People are also taking to the kitchen more and buying more cooking staples such as pasta machines, bakeware and food processors.  

Alison Oakervee, food editor at Waitrose, said: ‘With everyone at home together, the kitchen has become the new centre of our world. 

‘Food is a huge part of taking care of ourselves and our families, and while we’ve been in lockdown, our focus has shifted onto making the most of our store cupboards and freezers, while coming up with inspiring and varied dishes to see us through. ‘

Waitrose has also seen a 63 per cent uplift in searches of ‘grow your own’. Pictured, stock image 

JOE WICKS EFFECT

From Joe Wicks’ 9am workouts to 5km ‘Run for Heroes’ challenges, the nation has been finding new ways to keep moving and active during lockdown. 

John Lewis has seen high demand across the retailer’s sports category, with gym equipment, training gear, running shoes, smart watches and wireless headphones proving particularly popular.

Purchases of fitness equipment such as weights are up 496 per cent, yoga and pilates gear is up by 315 per cent, and sports shoes by 72 per cent. 

From Joe Wicks’ 9am workouts to 5km ‘Run for Heroes’ challenges, the nation has been finding ways to keep moving and active during lockdown. Joe is pictured during The Big Night In with Children In Need and Comic Relief 

HOMEMADE HAPPY HOUR 

While we can’t go to the pub on a Friday night like we usually would, many have done the next best thing; and a survey by the retailers showed people are turning to video apps such as Zoom to maintain their social lives. 

It found that 20 per cent said they have taken part in an online cocktail, drinks or dinner party, 37 per cent in a virtual pub quiz, and one in ten a video date – and 48 per cent are speaking more to relatives who do not live with them. 

So it’s possibly no surprise that tequila sales have soared, with Waitrose’s increasing by 175 per cent as people host themed virtual parties – from Mexican nights to cocktail hours. 

Waitrose has seen a 175 per cent increase in tequila sales as people host themed virtual parties. Pictured: stock image

DIY BEAUTY SALONS AND COMFY FASHION

It appears not even lockdown will stop us from trying to look our best, with demand for laser hair removal products, manicure sets, face masks and massagers increasing as the nation recreates beauty treatments at home. 

The needs of the nation’s wardrobes have also changed. Comfort has been a key priority for customers at this time with casual wear, athleisure and nightwear all seeing high demand. 

John Lewis said it expects to see these areas continue to grow in popularity as we spend more time at home. 

Demand for laser hair removal products, manicure sets, face masks and massagers have increased. Pictured, stock image

MORE EXOTIC COOKING

With more time to try out new recipes, around 45 per cent of Brits are eating more exotic food. 

Waitrose.com recorded a 53 per cent rise in searches for Japanese dishes, 83 per cent for Thai food, 161 per cent for curry pastes and 125 per cent for Chinese ingredients. 

‘We’ve all had to get used to a new way of living, cooking and eating during lockdown. Whether working harder to use up ingredients in store cupboards,’ said Martyn Lee, executive chef at Waitrose. 

‘In a creative way, or taking the time to try cooking a new cuisine, it’s been great to see lots of people losing their fear of failing and trying new recipes that they might normally give a wide berth. 

‘And with our favourite restaurants closed there has been an increase in people recreating a restaurant experience at home.’

Around 45 per cent of Brits are eating more exotic food, with an 83 per cent increase in demand for Thai food dishes. Pictured, stock image 

THE HOMEMADE COFFEE SHOP 

Coffee and tea sales went up six-fold at Waitrose in the first few weeks of lockdown, especially whole bean coffee.  

Coupled with an increase in sales of baked goods, it’s no wonder that most of us also admitted to snacking more. 

‘Deciding what to eat, whether it be baking recipes to keep the kids busy, restaurant-inspired dinners complete with homemade menu cards and wine matching or Instagram-led banana bread and sourdough recipes, we’ve all taken a little more time over what we’re cooking’, said Ms Oakervee. 

How have our eating habits changed during lock-down? 

  • 50% say we’re working harder to use up ingredients in the cupboard and are more conscious of not wasting food
  • In light of this, Waitrose.com has seen searches for soup recipes up 51%
  • 31% of us have been getting more organised – making shopping lists and meal plans
  • 38% of us say we’re snacking more, as being home all day sees us more frequently drawn towards the cupboards or fridge
  • 19% of us say we now sit at the table for more meals together
  • John Lewis has seen egg cups and teapots in demand as more families eat breakfast together
  • 12% have had to adapt meals to suit fussier eaters, with the household all having meals together
  • 19% say they or others at home are eating things now that they previously wouldn’t have
  • 36% spend longer cooking meals than usual, with comfort foods particularly popular. Because of this, Waitrose.com has seen ‘comfort food’ recipes up 44%
  • 53% increase in searches for Japanese food including sushi rice, teriyaki and miso
  • 83% increase in searches for Thai food including curry paste and coconut milk 
  • 125% increase in searches for Chinese food including five spice and plum sauce 
  • 144% increase in searches for Indian food including Keralan food and garam masala
  • 46% increase in searches for non-alcoholic gin.

GROUP DINING IN   

As families, partners and couples alike are working from home and staying indoors at home throughout the week, for the first time ever Deliveroo has seen group ordering overtake single meal orders. 

Where single meal orders used to constitute over half of Deliveroo’s total orders, they now only constitute just a third of total orders. 

This suggests that food is, more than ever, a moment to share during the long and challenging days.

As families, partners and couples alike are working from home and staying indoors at home throughout the week, for the first time ever Deliveroo has seen group ordering overtake single meal orders (stock image)

EARLY DINING SPECIAL 

The waiting period before dinner is always a struggle – and even more so now it appears, as the time of peak orders each day has shifted. 

While average orders on a weekday would usually peak at approx 7.30pm, this has now moved to 30 minutes earlier. 

This suggests Brits might be daydreaming about their dinners before they’ve eaten their lunch.

As Brits aren’t able to put on their dancing shoes and head out on the town on Friday night, Deliveroo says Fridays are now rivaling Saturdays as the most popular day of the weekend to order a takeaway. Pictured, stock image 

BIG NIGHTS IN  

As Brits aren’t able to put on their dancing shoes and head out on the town on Friday night, Deliveroo says Fridays are now rivalling Saturdays as the most popular day of the weekend to order a takeaway.

EATING MORE CHINESE FOOD 

Based on search terms on the app, there has been a significant shift from customers searching for specific restaurants on the app to now searching general takeaway categories – with Chinese cuisine the most searched term, followed by Italian and Indian. 

Burgers, previously the most popular menu item for Brits on Deliveroo in 2019, are no longer top.

GROCERY SHOPPING ONLINE 

Over the past month national supermarkets, local convenience stores and off-licenses have joined the platform to ensure essential items are accessible for those in isolation due to Covid-19, including BP, Marks & Spencers, Morrison’s, Coop and McColl’s. 

Deliveroo has seen the highest demand for bread, milk and cheese. Orders of bananas and menu items containing bananas has increased 66 per cent since January when Instagram nation’s new obsession with banana bread started. 

The top three cities seeing the biggest increase in demand for bananas are Bristol, Southampton and Aberdeen.

VIRTUAL BIRTHDAY PARTIES 

Champagne for one! Orders of chocolate, champagne, wine and beer have seen a considerable increase since lockdown as Brits surprise their loved ones from afar with Deliveroo orders to their homes containing edible and drinkable gifts (stock image)

With physical social gatherings on pause, customers have been turning to Deliveroo to surprise and delight friends and family celebrating their birthdays behind closed doors or virtually.

Orders of chocolate, Champagne, wine and beer have seen a considerable increase since lockdown as Brits surprise their loved ones from afar with Deliveroo orders to their homes containing edible and drinkable gifts. 

Chocolate orders in particular have increased 30 per cent since January with the top three cities seeing the biggest increase in demand for chocolatey treats being Leeds, Manchester and Bristol.

How Brits’ food shopping habits have changed since February as a result of Covid-19 

While we’re also getting more takeaway, Brits are also shopping online more in an effort to stay indoors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Supermarket sales are up too, as Brits are unable to dine out due to the Covid-19 lockdown. 

The latest research from Mintel reveals the online grocery market is forecast to grow by 33 per cent in 2020 to reach an estimated value of £16.8 billion, up from £12.7 billion in 2019. 

This phenomenal rise follows four consecutive years of slowing growth: in 2019 growth fell to a historic low of just 2.9 per cent . The market is set to be worth £17.9 billion by 2024, growing by 41 per cent over the five year period.

In the very early days of the spread of the coronavirus in the UK, before social distancing measures were announced, seven per cent of Brits increased their total amount of online shopping (both food and non-food).

In the space of fewer than two months, online shopping has seen a dramatic boost with the number of consumers who say they’ve increased their online shopping rising to 36 per cent. 

Meanwhile, 50 per cent of Brits have tried to limit the time they spend in-store, while a further nine per cent have used click-and-collect more.

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