Smaller gatherings at home — that’s the outlook for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays for 2020, an outlook that could favor food retailers.
A new report from KPMG finds that 82% of the U.S. plan to prepare their entire Thanksgiving meal at home. Thanksgiving gatherings will also be smaller this year. As well, 83% plan to prepare their entire Christmas meal at home. For other winter celebrations like Christmas, fewer people will be traveling during this holiday period and trips are expected to be shorter in duration. Based on the survey responses, gatherings will be smaller for the winter holidays.
The findings are based on surveys of some 1,000 U.S. consumers.
Survey respondents said that, broadly speaking, they are cooking about 70% of their meals at home while they are eating out for less than 10% of their meals. Consumers have increased use of both delivery and pickup for meals. Dinner is the meal where consumers have take out or delivery for roughly 20% of their meals, on average.
KPMG, a professional services and accounting firm based in Amsterdam, said that many of these trends are expected to continue once the pandemic has passed. About 50% of consumers who are cooking and preparing meals at home more plan to continue post-COVID-19. Conversely, about 50% of consumers eating out less also plan to continue after the pandemic subsides.
But those consumers might eventually seek more variety when it comes to their home-cooked meals — another potential opportunity for food retailers. The KPMG report found that survey respondents have about eight meals in rotation on their home menus. But 37% of consumers say they have increased the number of home-cook meals on average during the pandemic.
Consumers have also turned to meal kits as a way to expand their selection. As well, 25% of survey respondents used meal kits during COVID-19, and 17% of those respondents are new users.
KPMG found that consumers are bifurcated on healthy diet as a result of COVID-19, but slightly more survey respondents feel they are eating healthier food and drinking more water. Consumers also report to be snacking more during COVID-19 compared to what some have taken to calling the “before time.”
Some consumers have used this pandemic period to experiment with new diets. About 40% of consumers claim to have made significant changes in their eating habits during COVID-19. Popular trends include high protein, low carb and calorie-based diets and intermittent fasting.
With respect to alcoholic beverage consumption, consumers are also mixed. The report found that millennials are the segment of the population who are consuming more alcohol on average during COVID-19 compared to before. On average, millennials are consuming 25% more alcohol.
Also during the pandemic, 31% of consumers increased their online grocery purchases, with 18% of survey respondents also buying more personal care items during the outbreak.