More people are cleaning and disinfecting at home more as a way of preventing spread of the virus.
Marking the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, NCSolutions conducted an analysis of 12 months of its consumer purchase data as well as findings from a newly fielded (March 2021) nationally representative consumer survey with 2,017 respondents, ages 18 or older. The combination of these two data sources demonstrate how the American grocery basket has evolved over the past year. Since the emergence of the COVID-19 crisis, 96% of Americans say they clean and disinfect their homes as much or more than before; nearly half (47%) are eating healthier and half are cooking more; and almost one in seven are watching more television as a form of self-care and snacking while they do it. What all this means to the bottom line is that there is a 14% increase in American household grocery spending, according to NCSolutions , the firm that sponsored the survey. One of the changed behaviors that I think will be long lasting is that 41% of the survey respondents say they are cleaning and disinfecting at home more as a way of preventing spread of the virus.
NCS reports that spending on cleaning products is up 36% year-over-year (March 2020-February 2021) compared to the same period a year prior. The increase is more than in any other grocery category.
A significant number of respondents are following expert guidelines for healthier eating. Spending on fresh produce is up 24% compared to the year prior, and purchases of vitamins and supplements are up 21% year-over-year. NCS also reports that cooking at home is now a staple of the American diet. Almost half (47%) of respondents say they cook more frequently now than before the pandemic. Frozen foods are up 29%, staples such as dry grains and beans up 28% and baking ingredients up 27% were the food categories with the highest growth during the pandemic.
The top 10 food and household items according to the respondents of the NCS survey say they must always have a supply of in their homes include cleaning supplies (81%), which ranked number one. But six other items related to managing physical and emotional health were also deemed necessary. These include healthcare items such as painkillers and thermometers (63%); proteins such as chicken, fish and eggs (63%); fresh fruits and vegetables (63%); snack foods (58%); baking ingredients (55%); and vitamins and supplements (54%). After one full year of pandemic shopping, consumer packaged goods (CPG) spending grew an average of 14% year-over-year from March 2020 through February 2021, as compared to the prior year (March 2019 – February 2020), according to the latest NCS purchase data.