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Zirca Digital Solutions has launched a white paper on the ‘Food and beverage trends’ as part of their ‘Ungeek’ series. Ungeek is a series of colourful, simplified, easy-to-absorb, insight-driven research reports and thought pieces for modern marketers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about profound changes to consumer behaviour, which are here to stay. It has impacted the way consumers think. Audiences are now defining their likes, thoughts and preferences and seeking newer avenues to meet their needs. During the onset of the pandemic, consumers had to adapt quickly to find new ways to fend for themselves and discover alternative options to perform even mundane tasks. These changes affected not just individuals and homes, but large corporations and industries. Like most sectors, the food and beverages sector has also been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

Zirca Digital Solutions’ whitepaper, ‘Food and beverage trends in the new normal’ examines behavioural changes that have been prevalent during the lockdown. The white paper focuses on key changes such as new kitchen development, health is wealth, safety and convenience, and lastly, the new-age influencers.

Some highlights from the white paper:

New kitchen trends: From restaurants shutting down to the rise of home-cooking, the pandemic has altered the way we consume food within our homes.

- Culinary skills were seen as a hobby, compulsion, way to ensure safety and method to de-stress. This behavioural change has led to more audience turning into cooking-based portals. The traffic on these portals increased from 25 to 27 million during the lockdown as compared to 14 to 17 million pre-Covid.

- Food and lifestyle genre channels on television saw a surge in impressions to 245.5 million during the lockdown as compared to 160 million pre-Covid. The average time spent on these channels increased to 15.08 mins in Q1-2021 from 10.03 mins in Q1-2019.

- A new trend ‘Do it yourself’ emerged during the lockdown. One such trend that captivated the nation was ‘baking bread’. According to Semrush, there was an increase of 515% in search volumes of how to bake bread, and a 616% increase of how to bake bread at home.

- The pandemic also acted as a catalyst in shaping new personas. Four personas that were identified were — people who cook food to monetise, cooks food to unwind, cook for better nutrition, and cook passively, by default.

Safety and convenience: Digital paved a new path into the new normal as consumers flocked online to shop for daily groceries.

- According to the BCG report, e-commerce saw a rise of 1.3-1.5x no. of buyers for essential food (fresh food, staples, packaged food and beverages), a 1.4x increase in the number of categories shopped online, and a 45% increase in online spends.

- Traffic on e-grocery platforms increased to 15 million post-Covid as compared to 10 million pre-Covid.

- Unexpected alliances and new business models were formed as companies adapted to help deliver essentials to the consumers.

*Zomato and Swiggy delivered essential goods.

*Flipkart tied up with cab services like Uber and Meru to deliver essentials.

*Dominos and ITC joined hands to deliver essential goods.

- As audiences experienced better services from various e-comm portals, they soon realised the benefit of ordering grocery online.

Health is wealth: The fear of catching Covid-19 led to people adopting healthy food diets, and fitness regimes to improve their immunity. Post Q2, 2020 this category has been in a constant upswing.

- Daily visitors on diet, exercise and fitness portals increased from 37 million in Jan 2020 to 41 million in February 2021.

New-age influencers: The rise of influencers and cloud kitchens are shaping the way commoners consume content. The need for guidance was picked up by influencers (bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, Instagramers, etc) and cloud kitchens, each trying to get the attention of the masses. 

Neena Dasgupta, CEO and Director, Zirca Digital Solutions, said, “Our Ungeek initiative has seen massive traction within the trade and marketing fraternity. Everybody just loved the way complicated statistics were explained and presented. During the pandemic, food and its ancillary activities got a whole new meaning. It became a passion, profession, hobby, past time and even a problem for some and which is why our second white paper is focused on food and beverage trends. At Zirca, we have always believed in knowledge-based approach with consumers at the epicentre of all that we do. We feel it is our duty to share knowledge with all brands and partners and help them make smart and informed decisions for their businesses. With Ungeek, we hope to be a part of our partner’s journey by facilitating meaningful conversations.”

The white paper can be downloaded from