Leuven, 21.04.2020

Corona crisis turns Belgian consumers into home cooking chefs



Could it be that the Corona crisis is making consumers pursue a healthier lifestyle? According to the GfK Coronavirus Consumer Pulse Study, this could be the case. Latest research revealed that Belgian consumers are cooking more at home, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and have gained more interest in gardening. The Corona lock-down, and the consequent freeing up of time, has hence shifted the focus of Belgian consumers to more healthy living.

What do you do when you have all the time in the world, but you need to stay at home? This is a question that many of us have been asking ourselves. According to the GfK Coronavirus Consumer Pulse Study, almost half of the Belgian population spent less time on work, freeing up time to spend on other things. So how did they spend this extra time? The research results showed that consumers not only engaged more in their usual entertainments such as watching Netflix or playing a video game, but also started to pursue a healthier lifestyle: they cooked more, ate healthier and became closer to nature. 

A first unexpected positive effect of the Corona crisis is that, during the first two weeks of the Corona lock-down, almost every Belgian (96%) has been making home-cooked meals (33% more than usual), and 20% have been eating less pre-cooked meals. Not only did Belgians turn into home cooking chefs, they have been paying extra attention to healthy nutrition. About one in four Belgians said that they have been eating more fresh fruits and vegetables than before. One in five Belgians also plan to stock up and buy more fresh fruits and vegetables in the coming weeks. Lastly, Belgians are seeking psychological comfort in gardening and DIY during the Corona crisis. According to the research, 72% of Belgians consumers are interested in gardening (17% more than usual) and 65% more interested in DIY (12% more than usual). Among those who are interested in gardening, 23% said that they will buy plants or aromatic plants seeds in coming weeks without postponing it. Compared to other product categories, this is rather high number, which shows that consumers’ needs on gardening and DIY is higher than other categories. For instance, when it comes to large household appliances only 5% said that they will make a purchase without postponing it.

 “These trends suggest that the Corona crisis is transforming consumers’ attention, making consumers more focused on their well-being than before.” says Richard Boyko, Country Lead of Marketing Effectiveness & Consumer Insights in Belgium. “With the lockdown meaning they are almost prisoners in their own homes, consumers have looked to transform their experience and benefit from the situation – taking the opportunity to re-define their work-life balance. Other research also shows health is currently the number one concern for consumers worldwide – and this is driving some major changes in lifestyles.  The question is, how many of these experiments will become permanent changes?”.



Note to the editors

Every week, GfK’s Coronavirus Consumer Pulse study tracks consumer perceptions, mood and behaviors in various industries to identify the early signs of disruption and help businesses quickly tune into pertinent, timely business intelligence, so that opportunities and risks are seen early and managed effectively. This study is available in 12 different countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy, UK, Poland, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and US).


GfK – extracting the signals from the noise 

For more than 85 years, GfK has connected science and data to help our clients around the world solve business question. By adding advanced AI, we can now provide with actionable recommendations for key decisions around consumers, markets, brands and media that drive marketing, sales and organizational effectiveness. That’s why GfK promises “growth from knowledge” so our clients can be a shaper of tomorrow. For more information, please visit www.gfk.com or follow GfK on Twitter: twitter.com/GfK.


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