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Packaged Facts: Coronavirus Has Changed Eating, Gardening Habits

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Due to the coronavirus, many consumers are changing their eating habits. About 30 percent of consumers agree they are eating less healthily, while 42 percent of consumers think they are eating more healthily, according to data published in Home Gardening Consumer Insights, a recent report by market research firm Packaged Facts. Based on these findings, it is important that the overall direction is toward healthy eating because food gardening correlates strongly with interest in eating healthy foods.

A large majority of consumers also agree they are now more concerned about food waste, while 34 percent are eating more locally produced foods. Although 29 percent of consumers agree they are eating less fresh produce, a strong majority (two-thirds) disagree with this statement, showing that overall, people seem to be trying to eat healthier during the pandemic even as they have access to more and more food options as restaurants and other social venues continue to reopen.

“We believe more people may be looking to plant a food garden to help them on this journey by growing more fresh produce at home and not needing to rely on grocery stores or other retailers,” said Jennifer Mapes-Christ, food and beverage publisher for Packaged Facts.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans still gardened as a hobby, even if popularity was waning. Over the last decade, busy consumers previously have had less time to devote to gardening. However, history has shown that during times of crisis interest in home gardening is renewed. For example, historical data indicates increasing popularity of gardening around the time of the 2007-2009 U.S. recession.

“In times of financial crisis and economic insecurity, consumers often change their behaviors by spending less money on nonessentials and trading down to lower cost products. Consumers facing insecurity or uncertainty about the future may turn to gardening as a stress relieving activity, a way to spend one’s time while temporarily unemployed or a low-cost way to grow food for their families,” says Mapes-Christ.

The natural assumption is that the popularity of home gardening is limited to American homeowners with an outdoor space at their residence, such as a yard, lawn or garden. Yet even among renters or those with limited access to an outdoor space such as a yard, Packaged Facts’ research suggests that a percentage of people planting a garden due to the coronavirus may be planting container gardens, which can be grown indoors, on a balcony or in outdoor areas such as a driveway or patio.

Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, and pet products and services.

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