COVID-19 Is Changing Eating Habits of Young Millennials in the UK  

By Ana Lester


Hold the steaks and burgers. Bring on the fruits and veggies fresh or in a tin.

New research from Mintel reveals that a quarter (25%) of young British Millennials (aged 21-30) say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing. These plant-loving Millennials are not alone, as the research reveals that a vegan diet is proving more attractive to over one in ten (12%) of all Brits, rising to almost a quarter (22%) of Londoners, since the start of the pandemic.

“Even before the spread of COVID-19, we were seeing a growing interest in plant-based food and drink across global markets. It may well be that the pandemic is accelerating this trend,” said Alex Beckett, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink.
Meanwhile, Millennials will keep their cupboards stocked with long-life food and drink.

Almost two in five (37%) consumers believe that, in the future, people will buy long-life food and drink such as tinned food and milk more often as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, rising to almost half (47%) of Gen Z and Millennials (45%). Meanwhile, one in seven Brits (17%) has been eating more food in tins since COVID-19, rising to a quarter (25%) of Gen Z and one in five (21%) Millennials.

Mintel research indicates there is a strong belief in the healing power of plants, as half of Brits (51%) believe plant/botanical ingredients such as herbs and spices can have medicinal benefits for treating ailments.

A quarter (23%) of Brits say they are eating more fruit and vegetables since the start of the outbreak. Generation Z (aged 20 and under) (31%) and Millennials (21-40) (27%) are most likely to be keeping their fridges well-stocked with this healthy produce.
Two thirds (66%) of Brits believe consuming vitamin C helps support the immune system. Overall, almost two in five (37%) Brits say the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted them to add more nutrients that support the immune system to their diet.

Prompting a “waste not, want not” mentality, almost seven in ten (69%) Brits say the outbreak has encouraged them to waste less food at home.

Finally, Mintel research reveals that the virus has created a long-term interest in cooking and baking as more than half (55%) of the nation say they plan on cooking more from scratch post-COVID-19 than they did before.

“Before the outbreak, younger people generally opted for convenient, fresh food that didn’t take long to prepare,” said Beckett. “But under lockdown, with more time at home and no restaurants or cafes open for business, long-life food has had clear advantages. It doesn’t take up precious fridge space and lasts a good while, making it suitable for quarantine-living and resulting in fewer shopping trips. It’s affordable, often nutritious, and, in the case of tinned veg or fruit, suits our rekindled fondness for cooking from scratch.”


Consumer research cited in this article involved 2,000 British internet users aged 16+ between April 23 and May 7.

                                                                       Early July 2020
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