From convenience to conscious: Covid-19 pandemic leads to shift in snacking priorities

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Before the pandemic, consumers looked at snacks as a comfort food with a convenience purpose, according to food technology platform Ai Palette and research firm Frost and Sullivan.

Nadiah Ghazalli, APAC consulting analyst of chemicals, materials & food at Frost and Sullivan said: “Before Covid-19, snacking kept us full between meals, and was also a meal replacement for busy professionals​.”

Somsubhra Gan Choudhuri, co-founder and CEO at Ai Palette, said the early days of the pandemic saw consumers gravitate towards comfort snacks.

However, consumer preferences towards snacking changed, the longer lockdowns were enforced.

We observed that people still continue snacking but were now more conscious about their diet and are moving towards healthy snacking​,” he said.

Ghazalli agreed, adding: “The pandemic exposed how important nutrition is for the body, especially when it comes to the immune system. People are more conscious of the type of food they consume​,” she said.

They added that the concept of healthy snacking had now evolved from eliminating nutrients such as carbohydrates, fast or sugars, to a desire for nutritionally balanced and nourishing products.

Across the region, Ai Palette found that nuts and seeds grew in popularity in the Philippines, in Singapore oat-based snacks and dark chocolate gained traction, while in China, it was cereal and protein bars.

Choudhuri also told us that the firm’s analysis also found that there was a marked increase in home cooking and baking during this time.

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