Everyday Meals

Waitrose report reveals shoppers’ love affair with home feasts, Champagne and well-being

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Potato milk is also set to be the trendy new addition to shoppers’ lists as the environment takes centre stage amid consumers’ post-pandemic concerns, especially about waste.

Champagne sales are up 40 per cent year-on-year and kitchens were moved outdoors, the supermarket’s survey found, with one in five saying they’d invested in a new barbecue and one in ten installing an outdoor bar.

Image fest platforms such as Instagram and TikTok are driving sales, be that feta and tortillas or pesto and potatoes, and TikTok’s trend for making pasta chips at home contributed to a 400 per cent rise in sales of air fryers at John Lewis. 

Working from home was the fuel for homemade feasts, drinks boomed although lovage cordial lost its allure.

Multi-channel shopping became the norm with 25 per cent buying online for the first time. However the number of people buying food on a daily basis has doubled in a year as browsing the aisles for inspiration became a pleasure in difficult times. 

These shopping trends – increased frequency and the continued growth of online – are forecast to accelerate in future along with on-demand food delivery apps. Waitrose has extended its partnership with Deliveroo to 150 locations.

“We’ve rediscovered the fun, creativity and sense of togetherness that food brings to our households and many have embraced the inspiration that we get from popping to the shops to pick up our groceries,” says James Bailey, Waitrose’s executive director. 

“The majority of the people we surveyed told us the pandemic has fundamentally changed their outlook: they’re more conscious of their mental and physical health, they’re enjoying life’s simple pleasures, and they’ve embraced the importance of family and friends.”

Products that defined the year include canned fish, barbecued watermelon, nostalgic desserts such as Knickerbocker Glory, speciality salts and sushi.

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On the drinks front as well as peerless Champagne, there was a rush for rosé especially sparkling and cream liqueurs cosseted palates all year – so no longer just for the festive season. 

Dinner parties are now all about quality not quantity and the 5:2 Veg Diet landed – that’s five veggie days and two with meat. Vegetarians and vegans made strong contributions to healthy sales.

And tablescaping is now a central part of what’s a global foodie experience. Three-quarters of all 18-24-year-olds polled looked at TikTok and Instagram for food inspiration during lockdown, while one in 12 people across all age groups posted a picture of their food or their ‘tablescaped’ meal setting – or sent a snap to a friend. 

Next up predicted for 2022 are potato milk, umami (savoury) flavours, craft pre-batched bottled cocktails and climatarianism (a diet focused on reducing your carbon footprint).

Most heartening of all perhaps in Waitrose’s survey were the findings that 75 per cent of respondents were highly conscious about waste and trying harder not to throw away while 77 per cent worry about the amount of plastic in their grocery packaging. Sustainability has taken root. www.waitrose.com

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